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Can You Reverse Macular Degeneration Naturally?

Can you reverse macular degeneration naturally?
Image by 3534679 from Pixabay
Kent Probst, BS, MEd
Kent Probst is the owner of Long Healthy Life Blog

What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

The macula is part of the retina responsible for clear vision in the center of your visual field.  Macular degeneration is the thinning of the macula and the loss of central vision, prompting people to ask, “Can you reverse macular degeneration naturally?”

There are two types of macular degeneration – dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and wet AMD. 

Wet AMD is less common, but more serious. With wet AMD, abnormal growth of blood vessels beneath the retina may leak blood, resulting in a scarred macula. 

Vision loss occurs faster with wet AMD than dry AMD. 

Risk factors for AMD include:

  • High blood pressure
  • 50 years of age or older
  • Smoking
  • A diet high in saturated fat
  • Obesity

 

The three stages of AMD are early, intermediate, and late. You may not experience any symptoms in the first two stages. 

Can you reverse macular degeneration naturally? While research is ongoing, there’s currently no cure for AMD.

Now that we know the risk factors and and what it is, let’s take a look at things you can do to prevent or slow the progression of AMD.


 

5 Ways to Treat Macular Degeneration Naturally

1. Follow the Right Diet

The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating that is based on the traditional foods and eating styles of the people and countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.

The diet is composed of a variety of plant foods including fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans and other legumes, fresh herbs, and whole grains.

Wild-caught fish and other seafood are the primary animal products consumed on this diet, while other animal products like high quality cheeses, free range poultry, and cage-free, organic eggs are consumed in smaller amounts and less often.

Red meat is consumed very infrequently and in small amounts. Olive oil is a primary source of fat, and things like red wine and desserts like dark chocolate are enjoyed in moderation.

 

Here are some foods from the Mediterranean diet that may reduce your risk of macular degeneration. 

  • Bell peppers are high in vitamin C and A.  They also contain the carotenoids zeaxanthin and lutein which can help prevent age-related macular degeneration.  
  • Sunflower seeds and almonds are great because they contain vitamin E.  Some evidence exists that suggests vitamin E can reduce the speed at which macular degeneration progresses.
  • Dark, leafy greens such as spinach, as well as green peas, are high in lutein and zeaxanthin.
  • Sweet potatoes and pumpkin both contain beta-carotene which your body converts into vitamin A that’s needed for healthy eyes.
  • Salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids which contribute to maintaining a healthy retina.  Published research demonstrates that getting ample levels of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet may prevent retinal degeneration.
  • Legumes and beans such as lentils, black beans and kidney beans are rich in zinc which helps prevent macular degeneration and cataracts, as well as protect the retina.  
  • Butternut squash have significant amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin which you need to prevent macular degeneration.
  • Broccoli is another vegetable rich in zeaxanthin and lutein which also help prevent oxidative damage to the retina.

 

2. Don’t Smoke

Not only does smoking put you at risk for macular degeneration, it increases the risk of other diseases of the eyes. 

 

3. Get Regular Eye Exams

  • See your doctor regularly to be screened for diseases, especially those that can cause diseases of the eyes.
  • Get an eye exam once a year with an ophthalmologist or optometrist.

 

4. Take Nutritional Supplements

  • Bilberry Extract – Anthocyanins, the phytochemicals that give bilberries and blueberries their color, are integral to eye health.  Anthocyanins protect the retina by reducing permeability of capillaries and increase blood flow to the eyes.  Bilberry extract has long been used in naturopathic and alternative medicine to improve vision.

 

  • Pycnogenol – When combined with bilberry extract, pycnogenol significantly reduced intraocular pressure over a four week period compared to people who did not take the supplement.

 

  • Lutein and Zeaxanthin are usually combined in supplement form.  These two carotenoids are highly concentrated in the retina.  A large body of evidence demonstrates that supplementing with lutein and zeaxanthin can prevent macular degeneration. 

 

  • Saffron is showing promise as a supplement that may help with macular degeneration.  In a published study, daily supplementation with 30mg of saffron resulted in significant improvement in patients with macular degeneration.

 

Consult your ophthalmologist to determine the right supplement for you.


 

5. Exercise Regularly

Some studies suggest that regular exercise may reduce the risk of AMD. 

A 15 year study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology showed that people who exercised regularly were less likely to develop AMD.

As more research is done to determine the effectiveness of exercise in reducing the risk of AMD, you can still enjoy all the other benefits that exercise has to offer. 

 

Closing Thoughts

While you can’t reverse macular degeneration naturally, there are many things you can do to treat it and reduce the risk.

As you create your strategy for treating macular degeneration naturally, remember staying healthy is a holistic approach..

Take frequent breaks from your computer screen and smartphone. These devices emit blue light.  Chronic exposure to blue light can lead to macular degeneration.

Wear sunglasses that provide protection of 99-100% against UVA and UVB.

By combining food, nutritional supplements, and standardized eye care, you can clearly see how to reduce the risk of macular degeneration. 

 

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.

 

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Hi, I'm Kent

As a personal trainer, exercise physiologist, and bodybuilder, I’ve dedicated my life to optimal nutrition, fitness and natural remedies. And putting it all into practice. Now I’m taking my experience and knowledge to the next level by helping others through blogging.

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