Antioxidants and Macular Degeneration

Antioxidants and Macular Degeneration

Posted on May.24, 2011, by , under Low Vision Tips

Antioxidants and Macular Degeneration

Antioxidants play a very important role in the health of our eyes, and especially the macula. Everybody produces free radicals every day. Free radicals are unstable molecules that are missing an electron. When there are more free radicals than antioxidants, these molecules cause damage to our bodies which can lead to many degenerative diseases including age-related macular degeneration (AMD). One place that produces a large amount of free radicals is the macula – the tiny spot in the middle of the retina that is responsible for our central vision and for seeing colors and details clearly.

Antioxidants neutralize these molecules to protect our health. However, each person has a limited amount of antioxidants and as we age we are exposed to more toxins that lead to more free radical production. So how can we help tip the balance so that there are more antioxidants than there are free radicals?

1. Limit Your Exposure to Environmental Toxins

Quit smoking if you smoke. Smoking is a number one risk factor for developing AMD. The chemicals in cigarettes are full of toxins that produce free radicals. Protect your eyes from the sun by wearing wrap around sunglasses. Sunglasses that prevent UV light from coming in through the top or sides are most helpful. Dr. Lylas Mogk, the author of Macular Degeneration, the Complete Guide to Saving and Maximizing your Sight, believes that pollution in our air, water and food not only leads to other medical conditions like cancer and asthma, it may also contribute to the rise in numbers of those with AMD.

2. Increase Your Consumption of Good Fats

One significant aspect of a macular degeneration diet involves the amount and the type of fats we include in our diet. It is important to reduce the amount of processed or fried foods that contain fats that are harmful to our bodies and to our eyes. Dr. Lylas Mogk, M.D. writes, “ the rods and cones of our macula need a certain amount of omega 3 to function properly.” However, when we eat packaged and processed foods we get too many bad fats. The bad fats compete with the good fats. So even if a person is eating good fats, the consumption of processed foods like crackers, chips, microwave popcorn, etc prevents the body from using the good fats from foods like wild salmon or olive oil.

3. Include Antioxidant Rich Foods

Antioxidants rich foods are a powerful weapon working to protect our cells and our bodies from inflammation, degenerative diseases, cancer and macular degeneration. Often we think of blueberries and blackberries as being high in antioxidants. But the research shows that dark, leafy greens are the most affective in keeping our eyes healthy. As far back as 1994 a Harvard study was done by Dr. Johanna Seddon. The results of this study showed that those who ate at least 5 servings of dark leafy greens per week had a 43% lower risk of developing AMD than those who didn’t eat any or only small amounts.

For more tips on how to include more antioxidants in your macular degeneration diet go to:

Macular Degeneration Antioxidants