Macular Degeneration and Exercise
Age related macular degeneration is the leading cause of loss of vision in people aged fifty and older. In some people, AMD advances slowly and loss of vision doesn't happen for a long time but in others it can progress quickly and lead to a loss of vision in one or both eyes. Some people have a higher risk than others for developing AMD (smokers, people with High Blood Pressure, Family History). As yet there is no known treatment but some vitamin and mineral supplements have been shown to slow the progression of the disease in people with late and intermediate AMD. Two Age Related Eyes Disease Studies (AREDS) showed that a combination of Vit C, Vit E, beta carotene, zinc and copper can reduce the risk of AMD. (A word of caution, beta-carotene has been linked to an increased risk of lung cancer in smokers even after they have given up smoking, so it is best to see a qualified nutritionist before taking supplements) A further study showed that lutein, zeaxanthin and omega improved results even further.
The big news however is that exercise comes up trumps yet again! A new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience has shown that in an animal model, exercise protected the retina of mice with macular degeneration and suggests that the same would be true for humans.