Before exploring how antioxidants can be used as a treatment for dry macular degeneration, it is important to understand what occurs in the body. With each system in the body interconnected, there are thousands of processes that take place each day. Antioxidants have been promoted as treatments for many different conditions, including dry macular degeneration. However, are antioxidant treatments for dry macular degeneration viable treatments for this eye disease?
The body requires oxygen to survive. It is the fuel used throughout the body, but it leaves behind oxidant substances. These substances are referred to as free radicals and these free radicals can cause cell damage. Free radicals can also be introduced through outside influences such as sunlight, unhealthy diets and alcohol.
As these oxidants lead to the breaddown of cells inside the body, healthy cells are attacked and the immune system is weakened. This speeds up the aging process throughout the body. Aging is one of the key factors contributing to the development of macular degeneration and other eye diseases such as cataracts.
Antioxidants may provide a vital role in eye health especially with dry macular degeneration.
Antioxidants can reduce the effects of oxidants in the body. The body produces antioxidant enzymes but a person can also supplement the amount of antioxidants through dietary and nutritional supplements.
Dark green leafy foods are good sources of antioxidants. Food high in vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and beta-carotenes have also been shown to be the most beneficial antioxidants. Foods such as orange and red peppers, tomatoes, spinach and carrots have been shown to have the highest concentration of antioxidants. Raw fruits and vegetables provide the most and best supply of antioxidants.
Dry macular degeneration is the most common form of this eye disease. Drusen builds up in the layers of the retina and results in the gradual loss of vision over time. It is less severe than wet macular degeneration.
There is no cure for dry macular degeneration and no real treatment for this form of the eye disease. However, there have been studies that have demonstrated that diets high in fruits and vegetables prevent the progression of dry macular degeneration. People who have diets that consist of leafy green vegetables also have a lower incidence of macular degeneration.
While there is no proven treatment for dry macular degeneration other than close monitoring of the progression of the eye disease, doctors have typically recommended dietary supplements including zinc, that have been shown to slow the progression of this form of macular degeneration. It is still important to remember that there is no cure for dry macular degeneration and keeping the eye disease from progressing is key after diagnosis.
As with any eye disease, patients diagnosed with dry macular degeneration should receive regular eye examinations. This will allow eye care professionals to monitor the progression of the eye disease and ensure that it does not progress into the more severe form of macular degneration – wet macular degeneration.