By Dr. Carrie-Lynn Snee
I am very excited about the opportunity to be able to offer to my patients the latest weapon in the battle against age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Groundbreaking research has led to the advent of a vitamin called MacuHealth with LMZ3. It replenishes the carotenoids in the retina, which are responsible for preventing, slowing and potentionally stopping the progression of AMD.
MacuHealth is comprised of three carotenoids found in the macula: lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin. Meso-zeaxanthin is the most critical of the three, and is found exclusively in the very centre of the macula – the area responsible for central vision. Zeaxanthin and lutein are found in the outer spheres of the macula.
What makes meso-zeaxanthin such an important component of this vitamin is that it’s quite difficult to get in our Westernized diet. It is found in foods such as the shells of shellfish, shrimp and turtles, and in the skin of salmon. It is also derived from lutein in a process that requires a certain enzyme that is absent in some of the population. Those people must rely on a supplement to replenish diminished stores.
AMD is the leading cause of late onset visual impairment and legal blindness in the Western world among people over 50. According to reports from the Macular Degeneration Association, AMD Alliance International and the Foundation for Fighting Blindness, more people have AMD than breast cancer, prostate cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s combined. Over 15 million people in North America are currently affected by AMD and experts estimate that, as the population ages, the number of those afflicted will double by the year 2020.
I am seeing more and more patients with early signs of AMD, and now we have a powerful tool to help us with a comprehensive risk mitigation plan for our patients.
We have also just acquired an optical coherence tomography scanning laser that allows us to see under the retina where AMD starts. We can track it more effectively and diagnose the visually debilitating presence of Wet AMD (where abnormal, new blood vessels leak fluid or blood in the macula) much sooner now.
Seventy-five to 80 per cent of all AMD has been traced to genes inherited from family members. Family members of AMD patients need to consider the possibility of prevention of this disease by building a protective layer of macular pigment in their eyes long before signs and symptoms of AMD appear.
Please drop by my office for more information on your eye health.