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Macular Degeneration – it’s so much more than vision loss

Eye HealthAre you at risk of macular degeneration? Most of us have heard the term macular degeneration (MD) and know it’s associated with some form of vision loss, but have you ever stopped to think about how it could affect your quality of life, now and in the future?

What is Macular Degeneration?

MD is a progressive, chronic disease of the macula (located in the centre of the retina at the back of the eye) leading to a loss of central vision which affects your ability to recognise faces, drive a car and other activities requiring detailed vision such as reading, knitting, playing golf, cooking etc. MD is the leading cause of blindness and major vision loss in Australia and it’s estimated that the total cost of vision loss associated with MD was around $5 billion in 2010.

Risk factors for Macular Degeneration

  • Prevalence increases with age – around 1 in 7 Australians over 50 have some evidence of MD
  • Family history of MD
  • Smoking
  • High glycaemic index (GI) diet
  • Diet high in refined & processed foods
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Lack of regular exercise

Quality of life beyond vision loss

Any vision loss will cause some problems with day-to-day activities but it can also severely impact your ongoing quality of life including:
  • lower employment rates
  • higher use of healthcare services
  • social isolation
  • emotional distress
  • unhealthy ageing
  • earlier need for nursing home care; 3 years on average
  • difficulty remaining independent
  • increased risk of:
    • falls x 2 times
    • depression x 3 times
    • hip fractures x 4-8 times
    • decreased social independence x 2 times
The impact on quality of life can be compared to that of a cancer diagnosis or heart disease. It’s expected that the number of people with some sign of MD will increase by 70% to 1.7 million by 2030, in the absence of effective prevention and treatment measures. There is currently no cure for MD.

Top 7 MD prevention tips

Never has prevention been more important. Macula health is not only important for healthy vision but to help maintain the quality of life you would hope for.
  1. Amsler Grid eye examination chart is a good starting point to check for symptoms but always get your eyes checked every year by an eye healthcare professional
  2. quit smoking
  3. reduce processed & refined foods in your diet
  4. increase fresh fruits & vegetables and fish in your diet
  5. regular exercise to maintain healthy body weight
  6. protect your eyes from the sun
  7. seek immediate help if there are any sudden changes in your vision

Ask a Mr Vitamins Naturopath

Speak to one of our professional Naturopaths if you are concerned about Macular Degeneration. They can help you with the best supplements for macula health. The Macular Disease Foundation Australia also provides a free information kit.

Macuguard & Omega 3 concentrate PhotoMr Vitamins recommends

Herbs of Gold products for maintaining Eye Health
  • Macu-Guard with Bilberry 10 000
  • Omega-3 Concentrate
Learn more about Herbs of Gold products for Eye Health Read more about Macular Degeneration below: Important Eye Health Update Eyesight-your-window-onto-the-world

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