Age-related macular degeneration—AMD—is the most commonly diagnosed eye disorder in people over fifty. Well over two million Americans have been told they have AMD, and that number is expected to grow substantially. While this is a frightening statistic, over the last several years, medical researchers have shown that a number of effective treatments can slow, stop, and even reverse the progress of AMD. Now, best-selling authors Dr. Jeffrey Anshel and Laura Stevens, who herself has been diagnosed with this condition, have joined forces to produce an up-to-date guide to what you need to know to combat and even prevent AMD.
The book is divided into four parts. Part One explains how the eye works and how AMD develops, in both its wet and its dry forms. It then looks at the most common risk factors and explains how each of these factors negatively affects the structures of the eye. In Part Two, the authors look at the specific nutrients that affect the various cells of the eye. Included is a discussion of AREDS—the National Eye Institute’s study that showed which supplements help protect the eye from disease. Part Three offers an additional weapon against AMD. It explains why diet matters and offers advice on selecting foods that promote eye health while eliminating those that do the most damage. Part Four provides practical suggestions and easy-to-follow tips on how to incorporate this valuable information into your life.
If AMD runs in your family or you have been diagnosed with this potentially life-altering condition, it is important to know that there is not only hope, but a real path to a better, healthier life. Knowledge is power, and the more you know, the more likely you are to avoid the consequences of AMD. Let What You Must Know About Age-Related Macular Degeneration help you safeguard one of your most precious gifts—eyesight.
|Publisher:||Square One Publishers|
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About the Author
Jeffrey Anshel, OD received his Bachelor of Science in Visual Science and his Doctorate of Optometry from the Illinois College of Optometry. While in the US Navy, he established the Navy’s first vision therapy center located in San Diego, California. Upon his return to civilian life, Dr. Anshel went into private practice, offering his patients alternative therapies as part of their vision care. Today, in addition to his practice, Dr. Anshel is president of Corporate Vision Consulting and is the founder and president of the Ocular Nutrition Society. He is also the best-selling author of Smart Medicine for Your Eyes.
Laura Stevens, M.Sci., received her master’s degree in Nutrition Science from the Department of Nutrition Science at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Since graduating, she has worked there as a researcher investigating the relationship between diet and health disorders. Apart from her work at Purdue, Laura is the author of over seven books about diet, behavior, and allergies. Laura lives with her amazing cat, Bentley, in Lafayette, Indiana.
Table of Contents
The Basics of Macular Degeneration
1. How Your Eyes Work
2. What Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
3. What Are the Risk Factors for Macular Degeneration?
4. Metabolic Syndrome
Macular Degeneration and Supplements
5. The AREDS Trials
6. Plant-Based Supplements
7. Nutrients for Eye Health
Macular Degeneration and Your Diet
8. What Not to Put on Your Plate
9. What Makes a Food Healthy?
10. Choosing Foods to Put on Your Plate
11. Putting Your Anti-AMD Diet Into Action
Living Successfully with Macular Degeneration
12. Addressing Lifestyle Risk Factors
13. Tools for Living with AMD
As far back as Hippocrates, who advised “Let food be thy medicine,” health experts have known that diet can have a great influence on physical well-being. But for a long time, most people—doctors included—did not view nutrition as being a critical element in the maintenance of good vision. That changed in 2001, when results of the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) were published, clearly demonstrating that selected nutrients can slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss in people age fifty and over. This research and the follow-up study, known as AREDS2, convinced a great many eye-care providers and their patients that supplements can improve eye health.
Although the AREDS2 formula was found to slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration, it was not found to prevent, stop, or reverse AMD, nor did it help people in the earliest stages of the disease. So when author Laura Stevens was diagnosed with this disorder, she was told by her doctor that other than taking the AREDS formula and wearing eye-protective sunglasses, there was nothing she could do to change AMD’s course. Fortunately, Laura, a medical researcher at Purdue University, refused to stand by helplessly as her vision declined. Instead, she searched medical literature for studies that explored the relationship between nutrition and macular degeneration. She soon found that additional nutrients could not only slow the development of this disorder but actually improve vision. The idea for this book was born when Laura’s nutritional supplement regimen, enhanced diet, and other lifestyle changes began to bear fruit, and Laura realized that she was experiencing better vision and greater eye health.
Written by Laura Stevens and Jeffrey Anshel, a doctor of optometry, What You Must Know About Age-Related Macular Degeneration guides you in using nutritional supplements, diet, and lifestyle modifications such as exercise to help prevent, halt, or even reverse the progression of AMD. The book is based on the most recent scientific research and is supported by Laura’s real-life endeavor to treat her own AMD and Jeffrey’s years of experience helping patients manage eye disorders through both conventional and alternative means.
Part One of this book focuses on understanding the basics of vision and macular degeneration. Chapter 1 begins by explaining the anatomy of the eye and how the different structures work together to allow you to see an image. Included is a look at the eye structures that are specifically affected by macular degeneration.
Chapter 2 takes a close look at AMD—what it is, how it can start, and how it can progress. The chapter also discusses how AMD is diagnosed, monitored, and treated by both conventional and alternative medicine, providing the knowledge you need to better communicate with your doctor and make informed decisions about treatment.
Extensive studies have revealed the risk factors—including environmental, genetic, and lifestyle-related elements—that play a role in the development of AMD. Although some of these variables, such as age and gender, cannot be changed, you’ll find that a number can (and should) be modified, enabling you to take steps to safeguard and even improve your vision. Chapter 3 explores these risk factors, while Chapter 4 focuses on one of the most common of these factors, metabolic syndrome.
As you know, the AREDS study proved that nutritional supplements are effective in the treatment of AMD. Just as important, research has shown that additional supplements can have an impact on eye health. Part Two focuses on the important topic of AMD and supplementation.
Chapter 5 looks at the AREDS trials, which provided the clinical evidence that specific supplements help protect the eyes from AMD. The nutritional approach based on the AREDS formula is now the most widely accepted means of combating this disorder.
Chapter 6 focuses on supplements that are derived from plants. Included are botanical preparations that have been specifically shown to prevent, slow, or reverse AMD, as well as plant-based supplements that have properties which can improve eye health. In addition to the discussions of specific supplements, this chapter provides basic information about the different forms in which herbal preparations can be found and guides you in using them wisely and effectively.
Chapter 7, which concludes Part Two, provides a comprehensive examination of the many vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and other nutrients that you need to protect your eyes, and especially your retina. A handy table details recommended dosage as well as important considerations for usage.
Research conducted all over the world has indicated that, in addition to key nutritional supplements, a good diet is essential to eye health, just as it is essential to good health in general. The important topic of macular degeneration and your diet is explored in Part Three.
The standard Western diet is packed with foods that promote hardening of the arteries, heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions that contribute to age-related macular degeneration. Clearly, it is important to avoid the foods that are known to damage the human body. With a focus on macular degeneration and the conditions associated with it, Chapter 8 begins the discussion of diet by clearly explaining what you should not put on your plate. Here, you’ll learn about the foods that can compromise your health so that you can either avoid them or greatly limit their use as a means of protecting your vision.
What makes a food healthy? That is the subject of Chapter 9, which begins our exploration of healthier foods by looking at the dietary components—fiber, protein, and more—that play a crucial role in maintaining vision.
Once you have learned about the nutritional components that are important for eye health, you’re ready to learn about the delicious foods that contain these nutrients. Chapter 10 provides informative discussions about the many foods that should have an important place in your Anti-AMD Diet.
By the end of Chapter 10, you will know all the basics of an eye-healthy diet, but you still may wonder how you can put these dietary principles into practice. Chapter 11 shows the way by first reviewing the fundamentals of an eye-healthy diet, and then offering a number of sample menus that take the guesswork out of creating wholesome meals and snacks. Included are invaluable tips for dining out so that you can enjoy nourishing, health-promoting meals even when you’re away from home.
Although diet and nutritional supplements are essential to fighting macular degeneration, there are other steps you can take to lower your risk of AMD. That’s why Part Four begins with a chapter that explores the simple lifestyle modifications—such as quitting smoking, getting regular exercise, and protecting your eyes from damaging blue light—that can help you avoid or slow AMD. Finally, for those readers who are already affected by macular degeneration, the last chapter of the book is a guide to the many tools that can help you make the most of the vision that remains. Armed with the right devices and techniques, even people with advanced AMD can often participate in those activities that they need to perform as well as those that provide enjoyment.
Everyone has the ability to lead a healthier life, and this book looks at the simple steps you can take to safeguard your eye health, halt or reverse the progression of age-related macular degeneration, and maybe even improve your overall well-being. Just remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is an eye-protective lifestyle. Over time, the small changes that you begin to implement today will pay off. There is no more important investment than the investment you make in your health.