Acupuncture and Macular Degeneration – Part Two

From part one of the Acupuncture and Macular Degeneration series we learnt the anatomy of the eye relevant to Macular Degeneration (the retina, macula and fovea) and what happens inside the eye for Macular Degeneration to occur (broken blood vessels and drusen).

In this second instalment we will be exploring the symptoms of Macular Degeneration and when you should see your GP for a diagnosis, lifestyle choices that can cause the disease and pre-emptive measures you can take to fight against Macular Degeneration.

Symptoms of Macular Degeneration

The most obvious early warning sign of Macular Degeneration is the loss and distortion of central vision which can be experienced through:

  • Seeing lines that are supposed to be straight as wavy
  • An area of blurred vision that won’t focus with change of distance from subject matter
  • Increased difficulty in seeing detail or colour

For sufferers of Wet Macular Degeneration an early diagnosis is very important as the above symptoms can worsen in a very short space of time, from a few weeks to as rapid as a few days. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms listed you should book to see your doctor as soon as possible.

As the disease continues, sufferers can experience a wide range of symptoms disruptive to their daily life such as:

  • Extreme distortion or loss of the central field of vision making “…reading, driving, watching TV and recognizing faces…” highly difficult. (BrightFocus Foundation, n.d., para. 5).
  • Difficulty differentiating between slight changes in textures and colour hues in your environment –being unable to distinguish differences in the texture of the ground or stairs, “…can be dangerous and lead to an increased risk of falls…” (BrightFocus Foundation, para. 5)
  • Increased difficulty using depth perception – when it becomes hard to judge the differences in the distance between objects, simple tasks like walking or driving can become frustrating and dangerous.
  • Sufferers of Macular Degeneration may also find their eyes more sensitive to light – when reading or writing you may need brighter light to see fine details like writing, glare from the sun can cause your eyes to malfunction and render you unable to see anything but the glare, drastic changes in light levels such as walking outside after being in a movie theatre can also become noticeably difficult for your eyes to adjust to.

If you recognise any of the above symptoms in you or your loved ones, please contact your doctor for a diagnosis immediately.

Causes of Macular Degeneration

The most common cause of Macular Degeneration is unfortunately one we cannot yet escape – age. There are however, other contributing factors that can bring about an early onset of the disease that you can avoid to prevent Macular Degeneration.

  • Smoking: Just one of the many diseases caused by tobacco smoking, Macular Degeneration can be brought about early through this expensive and dangerous habit. 
  • Alcohol consumption: Cutting alcohol from your diet can help prolong and maintain good health as alcohol can lower your immunity and your body’s ability to fight sickness and disease. 
  • Obesity and poor diet: Unhealthy eating habits can cause an abundance of harmful issues and macular degeneration is no exception. Don’t forget – you are what you eat! 
  • Blue-violet light: We all know that the sun and UV (Ultra-Violet) light can damage our skin, but it can also cause a lot of damage to our eyes as “UV light affects the front of the eye (cataract formation), while blue light causes damage to the back of the eye (risk of AMD)”. (Review of Optometry, 2014, para. 3). It can be beneficial in this case to fork out for a quality pair of sunglasses that can sufficiently protect your eyes from harmful rays.   
  • Hereditary: In some cases it just all boils down to your genes and unwanted inheritances from your parents and their parents. Not all Macular Degeneration is hereditary but having an immediate relative with Macular Degeneration can definitely increase your chances of developing the disease yourself. 

Macular Degeneration Eye Causes

As you can, see all the usual culprits of poor health are present for Macular Degeneration, which is actually somewhat encouraging as many of these causes can be controlled through proper diet and restricted substance consumption. The downside is that no human can escape the sun, their genes or growing older. There is no way to 100{cd9c6de57c00efc2a82fe17a1051a91e32ff12e195fa9bdc9e290cdd5fa9d6b4} prevent or cure Macular Degeneration but we can give you the best treatment and help we can offer; through regular acupuncture patients have been able regain lost vision and continue living life without losing sight of what’s important.

  • Part one of Macular Degeneration and Acupuncture
  • Part three of Macular Degeneration and Acupuncture

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • BrightFocus Foundation. (n.d.). Understanding Your Disease – Signs and Symptoms. Retrieved from         http://www.brightfocus.org/macular/symptoms-and-signs
  • Review of Optometry. (2014). The Lowdown on Blue Light: Good vs. Bad, and Its Connection to AMD. Retrieved from         https://www.reviewofoptometry.com/ce/the-lowdown-on-blue-light-good-vs-bad- and-its-connection-to-amd-109744
  • Free photos retrieved from https://www.pexels.com