Seeking info on Macular Degeneration !!
cuthe at aol.com
Mon Jun 26 20:13:45 EST 1995
I can't advise about any surgery, but I can tell you about a Wall Street
Journal article, Nov 9, 1994, "Study Says Eating Dark, Leafy Greens May
Reduce Risk of Blindness in Elderly."
The article describes AMD (age-related macular degeneration) as happening
when the macula (in the center of the eye's retina) loses its yellow
pigments. The yellowish pigments that are lost from the macula were
said to be carotenoids called lutein and zeaxanthin. Their purpose, it
is thought, is to protect the retina from the damaging effects of visible
In the study the article describes, elderly people who reported they
regularly ate spinach and/or collard greens two to four times a week were
half as likely to develop AMD as those who did only once a month. Those
who ate the greens five to six times a week were even less likely to
develop the disorder. (356 patients with AMD and 520 with other eye
disorders were involved in the study.)
The study found that vitamin A and E supplements did not provide any
benefit, and C provided only hints of possible benefits. But those who
ate the largest amounts of foods rich in the carotenoids (the nutrients
that give vegetables their green, yellow or orange colors) had a 43%
lower risk than thow who ate the lowest amounts.
Among the caretinoid-rich foods, those high in beta carotene (e.g.,
carrots) did NOT provide any significant benefit. Instead the benefit
seemed to come largely from spinich and collard greens, which happen to
be rich in lutein and zeaxanthin. The 25% of patients who consumed the
highest amounts of these two had a 57% lower chance of having AMD that
the 25% who consumed the least.
The researchers didn't inquire about other dark green leaves, but they
noted that kale, mustard greens, and turnip greens are also rich in
lutein and zeaxanthin.
You might find more details in the Journal of the American Medical
Assocation for that week (around 11/9/94). The only research named was
Johanna M. Seddon of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston,
but she had colleagues in NY, Boston, Chicago, & Baltimore. And
remember, a single study does not make it a fact, but it's a start.
I now eat dark greens frequently (vs. before I almost never did). I
can't take much spinich due to the high iron content, but I eat more than
before, and I've taken a liking to a salad of fresh kale with fat-free
honey mustard dressing. (I'd guess that salads are better than boiled
vegetables.) I doubt it can reverse damage, but maybe a diet like this
might slow further deterioration?
Good luck,karenkw at aol.com (KarenKW) wrote:
>My 82 year old father is in the same situation as your friend.
>Unfortunately laser surgery did not help (it may even have worsened the
>condition). He is having a very difficult time adjusting to this loss
>and has some limited help from a low vision specialist who has provided
>him with special lenses that enable him to see a little, although he can
>only use them for distance and only for a short time. Your friend's
>ophthalmologist should refer him to such a specialist and also make a
>referral to social services to see what support they can provide.
>Unfortunately I know of nothing to restore his vision. I wish him the
>best of luck.
cuthe at aol.com
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