Macular degeneration is a painless condition affecting the retina of the human eye. The condition usually begins to slowly affect individuals over 50 years of age and impairs the center of the visual field.
The condition results in a disruptive spot in the center of the visual field, which can make reading and recognizing details (such as faces) difficult or even impossible without impairing peripheral vision. Macular degeneration is the most common cause of blindness in industrialized countries and roughly 30 million people worldwide are estimated to suffer from the condition. Men and women are equally affected.
The layer of tissue sensitive to light in the human eye is known as the retina. The region of the retina where light is most heavily focused is called the macula. This is the point where your vision is at its highest resolution.
Macular degeneration occurs when cells in the macula die with increasing age. It may also, be aggravated by the formation of new blood vessels or by metabolic waste products that impair macular function. Certain environmental risk factors may accelerate these processes considerably and it is therefore advisable to minimize the effects of such risks as much as possible. These include smoking, heart disease, and circulatory system conditions, high blood pressure, a poor diet and extreme exposure to light. Preventative measures focus mainly on minimizing such risk factors in order to delay or prevent the development of the condition.
Macular degeneration advances slowly over a long period during which symptoms are initially barely noticeable but worsen gradually. Individuals affected usually first experience difficulty reading. Some letters just seem to disappear. Straight lines and edges like window frames appear wavy. This effect can be easily detected and measured by the use of a simple test. This is followed by a gradual loss in sharpness of vision, increased difficulty reading, impaired contrast sensitivity, and difficulty discerning colors, and increased sensitivity to glare. In advanced stages, the center of the visual field is often only populated by gray shadows which themselves disappear as the condition worsens even further. As the condition affects only the macula, only the center of the visual field is affected. Macular degeneration does not cause total blindness because of peripheral vision, as well as color vision, remain unaffected. Affected individuals thus retain mobility and orientation. Treatment options for advanced macular degeneration are limited and can usually only slow and not reverse the worsening of symptoms. For this reason, prevention and early detection of macular degeneration are of especial importance to facilitate timely treatment of the condition.
Genes associated with macular degeneration
So far, the scientific community has identified several genes and polymorphisms linked to an increased risk of macular degeneration. By analyzing all relevant polymorphisms, we are able to determine the resulting disease risk. The following genes affect the development of macular degeneration.
LEGEND: rsNCBl : description of examined genetic variation, POLYMORPHlSM = form of the genetic
variation, GENOTYPE = personal analysis result.
Summary of effects
- You do not have an elevated risk of macular degeneration
- Your requirement of antioxidants is average for your symptoms
Your risk of macular degeneration
Nutritional Genes- Eyes
Based on the nutrition relevant genes and the associated genetic strengths and weaknesses, you should increase or decrease certain food components and nutrients. These recommendations are calculated based on your genetic profile.
Your personalized recommendations based on this section:
Legend: GREEN ARROWS > this nutrient or substance is classed as being healthy for your genetic profile. Try to increase the intake of this substance. RED ARROWS > this substance is classed as being unhealthy for your genetic profile. Try to reduce your intake of the substance. NO ARROWS ) The genetics of this section has no effect on the nutrient. PLEASE NOTE! This interpretation only considers your genetic profile of this section.
You do not have a genetic predisposition for macular degeneration. You do not need to take special preventive or observation measures because your risk is approximately equal to that of the general population. However, you can still develop macular degeneration, and if you notice symptoms you should discuss them with your doctor.
Even people who have no genetic risk can develop macular degeneration. Therefore, you should have an annual eye test after age 40 to allow for early detection and early treatment of the disease.
- High blood pressure is a risk factor for macular degeneration. Make sure your blood pressure is within the normal range. You can lower your blood pressure by getting more exercise and adopting the right diet. If diet and exercise do not lower your blood pressure, talk with your doctor about using medication to reduce it.
- Smoking is a major risk factor in the development of macular degeneration and should be avoided.
- Protect your eyes from direct sunlight by wearing UV-protective sunglasses ora hat.
- Make sure that your diet includes sufficient amounts of antioxidants, such as vitamins. These are contained by fruit and vegetables and are also available in concentrated form as dietary supplements.
The following sources are recommended:
- Beta carotene
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E(a-Tocophero|)
Because the macular degeneration is slow to develop and painless and requires particular attention to certain symptoms, its early detection plays an important role in determining the best treatment. The symptoms include, among others, shadow or distorted vision (for example, window frames are perceived as wavy), or difficulty in reading (for example, when individual letters disappear). The Amsler grid test will allow you to identify the first signs of distortion in your field of vision. The test can be found on the next page, together with instructions on how to take it. If you notice any symptoms, consult your eye doctor immediately.
Instructions for macular degeneration self-examination
- Hold the Amsler grid at a comfortable reading distance.
- Cover one eye (if you have reading glasses, please put them on).
- Fix with the other eye exactly the point in the middle.
- Look wavy or blurred lines.
- This may indicate symptoms of age-related macular degeneration.
- Repeat the test with the other eye!
- If you see the irregularities described, contact your optometrist immediately.
- Repeat this self-test once a week.
You do not have a genetic predisposition for macular degeneration. You do not need to take special preventive or observation measures because your risk is approximately equal to that of the general population. However, you can still develop macular degeneration, and if you notice symptoms you should discuss them with your doctor.Leave a reply