A common disease that affects the eye’s vision is called Macular Degeneration. It is known to be one of the leading causes in permanent vision loss or blindness across the world.
Macular degeneration’s development in adults can start as early as 45 years and loss of vision, as a result of this condition, affects elders past the age of 60.
The rate of Singapore’s elderly population is at a fast incline in recent years. The body’s wear and tear is inevitable when it comes to ageing; it is not a surprising event that a lot of older people develop eye problems and gradually lose their sight as they live through the years.
A lot of adults or elderly patients visit eye clinics to seek for procedures to cure or prevent macular degeneration. Unfortunately, there is no cure or prevention for this type of eye disease. At best, eye doctors can perform macular degeneration treatments that can slow its progression. This article by Asia Retina shares information about treatments, as well as lifestyle changes that patients should adapt in order to improve the eye’s health and slow done the advancement of macular degeneration.
Changes in Lifestyle for Patients With Macular Degeneration
Bad habits are indeed hard to break, but if it costs you your eyesight, your quality of life is put at a high stake. These lifestyle changes are highly recommended to help patients decrease the rate of progression of macular degeneration.
- Food and nutrition
Maintaining the body’s health is essential for it to function normally. Your diet should be filled with foods rich in vitamins and minerals as these help in keeping every cell of our body in top condition. A study done on patients with Macular Degeneration showed that incorporating the following vitamins and micronutrients into one’s diet greatly helps in slowing the disease’s progression by 25%. These vitamins and micronutrients are:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Cupric oxide
- Zinc oxide
Vitamins C, E, and zinc have antioxidant properties, while lutein and zeaxanthin are both phytochemicals (micronutrients generated by plants). Phytochemicals and antioxidants help improve the health of the eyes, therefore delaying the advancement of macular degeneration.
These vitamins and nutrients may be taken as supplements, but the most effective way of getting their regular supply is by adding foods that contain these in high concentrations. Below are the recommended foods to include in your diet:
- Fruits and vegetables that are green, orange, and yellow in colour, such as citrus fruits, grapes, kiwi, mangoes, broccoli, carrots, corn, squash, and sweet potatoes
- Dark leafy vegetables, such as arugula, collard greens, kale, and spinach
At the same time, include whole grains (e.g. brown rice, whole grain pasta) and foods with Omega-3 fatty acids (e.g. Chia seeds, walnuts, salmon).
In addition, you may want to adapt a Mediterranean Diet. Studies showed that individuals who stick to a Mediterranean diet showed lower developments of macular degeneration.
- Heart check
Having a healthy heart can bring advantages to your eyes. A healthy blood pressure level can lower the risk of developing macular degeneration. To improve the health of your eyes and heart, certain vices must be replaced by healthier habits. These are the things you should avoid:
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Foods that are high in salt, especially processed foods
- High levels of stress
Counter these bad habits with good ones:
- Exercise regularly, at least 30 minutes each day
- Put a limit to your alcohol intake or skip it totally
- Switch to a healthier diet of fruits and vegetables
- Quit smoking
- Sun protection
Exposure to sunlight without proper protection can be very harmful to the eyes. It is important that your eyes are shaded from the glaring rays of the sun by using sunglasses that have UV protection. Likewise, wide-brimmed hats and umbrellas are great blockers from sunlight.
- Regular visits to your eye doctor
Tracking the progress of your macular degeneration is important. Always set a time to visit your ophthalmologist to ensure that your macular degeneration’s progression is kept at a slow pace. During your visits, your doctor may ask you to take eye assessments and tests to properly document your eye’s health.
Treatments to Help Slow Down Vision Loss Caused by Macular Degeneration
Aside from lifestyle changes, patients can seek treatments from eye doctors in order to delay vision loss caused by macular degeneration. There are three types of treatments that can be done:
- Intravitreal injections
- Laser photocoagulation
- Photodynamic therapy
Among the two treatments, intravitreal injection is the most commonly used in Singapore. This type of treatment uses anti-angiogenesis drugs or steroids that are injected into the eyes. Samples of the medicated drugs used for this treatment are Avastin, Eylea, and Lucentis. The treatment works by injecting drugs into the eye in order to obstruct the growth of abnormal blood vessels. The results of intravitreal injections only last for a month. Regular treatment is necessary in order to maintain the eyes’ health in control.
In some instances, your eye doctor may recommend laser photocoagulation or photodynamic therapy. Laser photocoagulation uses light beams for to destroy abnormal blood vessels that grow in the macula, while photodynamic therapy is performed by using a non-thermal laser and an intravenous drug to close leakages caused by abnormal blood vessels.
Do note that these treatments only work for wet macular degeneration. A healthy change in lifestyle is highly recommended for dry macular degeneration patients in order to delay vision loss.
Asia Retina – Eye Specialist in Singapore
#15-10 The Paragon, 290 Orchard Rd,
+65 6732 0007