Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease that causes loss of central vision. The disease tends to affect those over the age of 55 and there are currently millions of people in the UK living with AMD.
AMD affects the macula - the part of the eye that allows a person to see fine detail. It gradually destroys the sharp, central vision, which is needed for seeing objects clearly, and for common daily tasks such as reading and driving. Although AMD rarely results in complete blindness, it robs the individual of all but the outermost, peripheral vision, leaving only dim images or black holes at the centre of vision.
Whilst there is currently no cure for AMD there are a number of preventative measures that can be taken to reduce the chances of contracting the disease.
What we eat plays a vital part not only in our general health but our eye health. Ensuring that you are receiving key nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins C, E and A and carotenoids is very beneficial. The majority of these nutrients can be found in oily fish, leafy greens, seeds, red meats and nuts. Peppers, carrots and tomatoes are all a great source of carotenoids.
Ian Grierson, professor of ophthalmology at the University of Liverpool, notes: "While research suggests that vitamins A, C, E and zinc can help keep the eye healthy, it is carotenoids, the pigments that occur naturally in plants and algae, which offer the most precise way of targeting the damage that causes sight loss.
"In particular, the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin act directly to absorb the damaging blue and near-ultraviolet light, in order to protect the macula. Any yellow or orange plants or vegetables contain them. They are also abundant in green vegetables such as kale and spinach."