The quality of your eyesight can be directly impacted by what you eat on a daily basis.
Recent research has shown that diets containing a particular carotenoid found in green and yellow fruits and vegetables as well as the fat from milk and meat can prevent the development of macular degeneration. Egg yolks can also be a rich source of the particular carotenoids, macular xanthophylls lutein and zeaxanthin.
Those who take in low levels of meso-zeaxanthin are at a risk of deficiency, which can contribute to the development of macular degeneration. Egg yolks that are especially brightly colored and come from hens that are fed meso-zeaxanthin are the richest source available of the carotenoid in the human diet. Fish skin is also high in meso-zeaxanthin, as well as fats and oils from cooking that extract the carotenoid.
Based on the results of recent studies, a growing number of eye care professionals are recommending that people increase their intake of meso-zeaxanthin, either through the above foods or through commercially available dietary supplements, as a means of preventing and treating macular degeneration.
Age-related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects the central vision and gradually destroys the eye’s ability to see clearly and sharply, affecting everyday tasks such as reading and driving. AMD is the number one cause of blindness in people over 60 years of age. While the condition causes no pain, the slow advancement of the disease often means that sufferers notice little vision change. As a result, they do not seek treatment until the later stages of the disease, which can result in a loss of vision in both eyes.
Why is Diet Important?
One’s diet plays an important part in the prevention and treatment of AMD. Oxidative stress is a considerable factor in the development of the disease. Oxidized lipids, such as polyunsaturated fatty acids, can accumulate under the photoreceptors in the form of drusen. Drusen is characterized by yellow deposits found under the retina. Oxidized lipids that are not completely eliminated through the chorodial circulation result in drusen deposits and characterize early-stage maculopathy.
Years of blue light exposure can also have a detrimental effect upon the central vision. The macular carotenoids including meso-zeaxanthin (MZ), lutein and zeaxanthin act as a blue light filter and offer antioxidant properties.
MZ, lutein and zeaxanthin are present in equal amounts in the central three mm of the macula, while these proportions change elsewhere in the retina. For example, at points removed from the fovea, the proportion of MZ decreases in relation to the amount of zeaxanthin, while the proportion of lutein to MZ increases. The isomerization of lutein into MZ occurs in the most central areas of the retina. By actively supplementing the diet with MZ, one can avoid a MZ deficiency, aiding in the prevention of developing of macular degeneration.
Increased intake of MZ combined with lutein and zeaxanthin is considered to be a safe and effective method of macular degeneration therapy.
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