Macular degeneration

Macular degeneration describes the deterioration of the central vision. It is occurring in younger ages than the typical seventh or eighth decade of life. It is a breakdown of the finely connected retinal layers at the back of the eye. It only occurs in the central part of the vision due to the blood supply to this region. The effect can range from slight distortion or jumbling of the vision, to extreme loss of ability to detect detail. The peripheral retina remains intact. Treatments are sometimes useful to reduce the amount of tissue affected. Prevention is difficult but scientific research has indicated that high levels of certain vitamins and minerals plus compounds found in spinach, red wine and tuna, may be helpful over a life time in reducing the retinal disruption.

Research shows both cataract and macular degeneration are diseases strongly affected by ultraviolet or UV damage to the eye over the course of one’s life. The recommendation, therefore, is to protect your eyes from the sun’s rays by wearing UV protective sunglasses, as you do your skin with sun block. Although no standards are currently enforced in New Zealand regarding this, most sunglasses on the market do block UV. For more information ask to see product information on the specifications of a sunglass before purchasing.

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