Nutrition is an Important topic even for Macular Degeneration

Nutrition is an Important topic even for Macular Degeneration

Posted on Nov.01, 2012, under Educational

As a registered nurse who loves to educate others on health and wellness, it is so refreshing to find physicians who are interested in disease prevention. Several ophthalmologists have written books on nutrition and/or macular degeneration. They are Dr. Stephen Pratt, the author of Superfoods RX, Dr. Michael A. Samuel, the author of Macular Degeneration: A Complete Guide for Patients and Their Families and Dr. Lylas Mogk the author of Macular Degeneration: The Complete Guide to Saving and Maximizing Your Sight. All three of them emphasize the role of nutrition and the food we eat in preventing age related macular degeneration (AMD).

Dr. Michael Samuel writes, “Here’s the good news about AMD, though. Early, dry AMD can be prevented, slowed and even reversed with diet and lifestyle changes.”

Dr. Mogk concurs by stating,” Nutrition is clearly one of the most important things I can talk about, even when it comes to macular degeneration.”

Age related macular degeneration runs in families, and just like my husband whose father has wet macular degeneration, Dr. Mogk and Dr. Pratt both had a parent with AMD as well. They are just as interested in preventing AMD in their own eyes as we are. Dr. Mogk devotes a whole chapter in her book on dark leafy greens like kale – and there is good reason for this.

Kale belongs to the family of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage. This dark leafy green is nutrient dense in anti-oxidants, especially lutein and zeaxanthin but other antioxidants as well such as vitamins C, A, and K. Lutein and zeaxanthin are two important carotenoids that make up the macular pigment. The macular pigment is known to provide protection against macular degeneration and cataracts.

The Eye Disease Case Control Study looked at 421 cases of wet macular degeneration and 615 matched control cases. The study found that patients with AMD had much lower levels of carotenoids in their blood and concluded that:

“Increasing the consumption of foods rich in certain carotenoids, in particular dark green, leafy vegetables, may decrease the risk of developing advanced or exudative AMD.
JAMA. 1994 Nov 9;272(18):1413-20

There are many ways to start including kale in your macular degeneration diet. These dark leafy greens are most available in the winter months, November through March. Start by adding it to your soups, salads or smoothies. Saute kale in oil with some garlic and onions or make kale chips in the oven. Get more suggestions on foods to include for eye health by going to:

Macular Degeneration Diet

Leslie Degner, RN, BSN

Better Health for Better Vision