Eye Health Supplements
What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
AMD is an eye condition that affects a particular part of the retina called the macula. AMD is the leading cause of blindness in people over 50 years of age. This eye disease is particularly frustrating because it results in a loss of central vision. In other words, someone with AMD can see everything except what he/she is looking at and is therefore unable to read, watch TV, recognise faces or drive.
AMD: Risk Factors
- Age: AMD typically develops in people over the age of 65. Early signs of disease can develop without visual consequences in people who are in their forties and fifties.
- Genetics: AMD has strong genetic links and is a hereditary condition through your immediate family.
- Smoking: Smoking greatly increases your risk of developing AMD by 7-10 times. Studies also show that stopping smoking can reduce your risk of developing AMD
- Sunlight: Studies suggest that exposure to high levels of throughout your life may reduce your MP and increase your risk of developing AMD.
- Diet: Poor diet is a risk factor for AMD. The protective MP at the back of your eye comes purely from your diet, so a poor diet leads to a lack of protection.
If you notice a sudden or slight change in your vision, you should always have your eyes examined as soon as possible by an eye health professional here at “Hallcroft Opticians”. We are trained to detect any eye problems and, if necessary, can refer you for an appointment with the ophthalmologist at the hospital..
TheMacula The macula is the central part of the retina and is responsible for central, detailed and colour vision. When light enters your eye, it is focused onto your retina. The retina includes a number of layers but the most important for vision is a layer made up of cells called photoreceptors. Photoreceptors are cells which are sensitive to light.The macula contains a high concentration of very specialised photoreceptor cells called cone cells. These cone cells function best in bright light levels and allow you to see fine detail for activities such as reading and writing and to recognise colours. When the light enters the macula, it first passes through the Macular Pigment (MP) before reaching these photoreceptors.
By identifying people at high risk, we can recommend changes to your lifestyle, e.g. diet and/or supplementation with MacuShield. MacuShield is the only supplement available that contains Meso-Zeaxanthin. It is scientifically shown to rapidly increase a person’s MP density.
Macular Pigment & AMD: Points of Interest
Lutein and zeaxanthin, two of the three components of the MP, can be found in a variety of fruits and vegetables (e.g. spinach, corn, peppers and most leafy greens). Our eye converts the Lutein into a third and important, MP component called Meso-Zeaxanthin.
Meso-Zeaxanthin Meso-zeaxanthin then accumulates in the very central part of the macula and has a central role in protecting against both blue light and free radical damage. Importantly, 1 in every 8 people are unable to make this conversion and therefore lack Meso-Zeaxanthin. On average we consume as little as 1.3-3mg/day of lutein and zeaxanthin from our diets, considerably less than the amount needed to protect against free radical and light damage, certainly as we get older.
What is MacuShield? MacuShield is a food supplement designed to fortify the Macula Pigment (MP). The ingredients that form Macushield are derived from marigold flower. They are Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Meso-Zeaxanthin.
What happens if you take MacuShield? Research has shown that if you take MacuShield, you will significantly increase your MP levels, especially at the centre of your retina where it is believed to be most important.
Who should take Macushield™? Individuals who are at risk of developing AMD and have low MP levels. Research has shown that such individuals include older people (60 years+), people with a family history of AMD, people who smoke cigarettes, people with a poor diet lacking in fruits and vegetables, people who are obese. It is important to note that you can have low MP levels from an early age (e.g. 20 years upwards).
Why is Meso-Zeaxanthin Important?
The importance of meso-zeaxanthin for visual health is reflected in the fact that it is only found in high concentrations the centre of the retina, where vision is sharpest. Meso-zeaxanthin complements the antioxidant capacity of lutein and zeaxanthin. It also allows the MP to filter a wider range of damaging blue light. It is therefore pivotal to the protective function of MP.Meso-zeaxanthin is not present in the diet and 12% of individuals cannot generate it at the retina. All three macular carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin) are required to exert maximum antioxidant effect at the macula.
How long does it take to rebuild your Macular Pigment levels after taking Macushield™? This differs between individuals, but it generally takes up to three months to rebuild the MP. It is important to note that MP levels will remain increased for up to six weeks after supplementation, but will fall back down after this time once supplementation is stopped.
Is MacuShield Safe to take? Macushield is the only supplement on the market which has undergone rigorous safety trials. It will not affect any medications. We are happy to recommend it because the manufacturers have gone through such stringent checks and have published all the results in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
However, pregnant or lactating women should consult a Doctor before using this product.
Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied diet or a healthy lifestyle.