Macular degeneration is disorder that effects cells in the retina, causing changes in vision. Macular degeneration causes vary, but the disease is most commonly age-related. Images that were sharp and clear become blurry as macular degeneration symptoms appear. As the disease progresses, images may become distorted, cloudy, dark or spotted. (1) There is no cure for the disorder, which is why macular degeneration prevention is important. Macular degeneration treatment focuses on a healthy diet and lifestyle to help protect the eyes from further damage.

Macular Degeneration Causes

  • Being over the age of 60
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Suffering from nutritional deficiencies due to a poor diet or absorption/digestive problems
  • Cardiovascular diseases and diabetes
  • Genetic factors or having a family history of vision loss
  • Markers of high inflammation levels and oxidative damage
  • UV light damage from too much sunlight exposure

Macular Degeneration eye

Macular Degeneration Symptoms

  • Blurred central vision
  • The area that appears blurred can become larger or spots may appear blank
  • Straight lines may become curved or distorted
  • Colors may become darker or less bright and vivid
  • Trouble with everyday activities such as reading, writing, typing or driving
  • Permanent blindness can occur over time (2)

Macular Degeneration Treatment

1. Eat a High-Antioxidant Diet

A high-antioxidant diet is an important part of macular degeneration prevention and treatment. Studies have shown that a diet high in antioxidants can help slow down the progression of the disease by protecting the eyes from oxidative damage. (3)

Foods high in antioxidants include:

  • Brightly-colored orange and yellow vegetables such as squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, peppers, berries and citrus fruits.
  • Homemade, unprocessed fruit and vegetable juices such as carrot juice or green juice
  • Water, coconut water and herbal tea
  • High-fiber foods such as beans or legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds

Inflammatory foods that should be avoided include:

  • Processed and packaged foods made with trans fats, hydrogenated fats and added sugar
  • Too much caffeine and too much alcohol
  • Added sugar in sweetened, processed drinks

Macular Degeneration sugar

2. Supplement to Protect Your Eyes

Supplements that are important for macular degeneration prevention and treatment include:

  • Bilberry: 160 milligrams twice per day can help improve blood flow and support eye function (4)
  • Astaxanthin: 2 milligrams per day can help prevent retinal damage
  • Zeaxanthin: 3 mlligrams per day can help lower oxidative damage
  • Lutein: 15 milligrams per day can help prevent oxidative damage, can be found in fresh fruits and vegetables (5)
  • Essential oils: Frankincense oil has been shown to improve eyesight, while helichrysum oil supports nerve tissue and cypress oil improves circulation. Apply 3 drops twice per day on the cheeks and next to the eyes.

3. Stop Smoking

Macular degeneration causes include smoking. Cigarettes are loaded with toxic chemicals that raise inflammation levels, damage healthy tissue and cells and contribute to nerve damage and vision loss. Stop smoking to help protect your vision, your skin, your lungs and every other part of your body from decay. (6)

4. Exercise

Exercising to maintain a healthy weight is an important part of preventing macular degeneration symptoms and many other health conditions. Along with eating a healthy diet, exercise regularly to help normalize blood sugar and blood pressure levels and fight off inflammation.

Macular Degeneration exercise

5. Prevent or Treat Markers of Cardiovascular Disease

One of the leading risk factors for eye disorders is a history of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Cardiovascular disease is a sign that your blood pressure levels or inflammation levels are too high. Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep and reducing stress levels can help normalize blood sugar and blood pressure to help prevent nerve damage and keep the heart healthy.

6. Protect your Eyes

Too much sun exposure can cause damage to the eyes. If you spend time outdoors, be sure to wear sunglasses to help protect your eyes from overexposure to UV rays. Never stare directly into the sun, especially when the sun is the strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day. (7)