What Is The AMD Prevention Pyramid?
The AMD prevention pyramid, created by C. Armitage Harper III, M.D., is designed to provide you with a plan that could delay, and even prevent, age-related macular degeneration. The plan is based on documented scientific research studies and calls for a change in everyday lifestyle choices, diet, and daily habits to achieve optimal eye health. Each element of the pyramid is described below.
A specially formulated product called Sight Defense MV has been created by a physician to specifically meet the nutritional needs of the eye and the rest of the body. By combining an eye vitamin with a comprehensive multivitamin and healthy omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) all of the patient’s daily supplement needs are met by taking one small packet twice daily.
Fish Oil: an Essential Fatty Acid for Your Eyes
Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids including DHA and EPA that can decrease your risk of developing AMD and promote the overall health of your body. The word “essential” means that these fatty acids cannot be manufactured by the body; they must be obtained through food or supplementation. Experts recommend that high quality fish oil be consumed twice daily to maintain optimal eye health. Fish oils should be molecularly distilled to ensure that heavy metals and toxins are removed.
Margarine: The “Lucifer” of Oils
The hydrogenation process of oil converts healthy fats into unhealthy fats and destroys their ability to provide you with the building blocks for optimal eye health. Margarine contains 60% partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (also known as trans fats) and less than 5% of essential or health promoting fats. Use non-hydrogenated oils such as olive or nut oils to support your eyes with essential fatty acids.
Exercise: It May Help Slow or Prevent AMD
Studies have shown that patients with a high body mass index (BMI) or a higher waist circumference (representing excess body fat) experienced the fastest progression of AMD. This progression is significant in that those with high body mass index progress nearly twice as fast as those with a lower body mass index and smaller waists. People who began to exercise vigorously (3 times a week) saw a reduction in disease progression by up to 25 percent.
Exposure to Visible and UV Light Increases AMD Risk
In the Beaver Dam Eye 5 and 10 year study, it was found that teenagers and adults in their 30’s who spent their leisure time outdoors had a significantly higher risk of developing early AMD. Wearing hats and sunglasses provided effective protection against early development of AMD.
The Amsler Grid: Test Your Eyes Daily
The Amsler Grid tests the macula for healthy function, and is made of evenly spaced horizontal and vertical lines with a small dot in the center for fixation. When the macula becomes unhealthy, the normally straight lines of the Amsler grid become wavy. It is recommended that people diagnosed with or at risk of AMD test their vision daily using this grid.
Smoking: A Cause of AMD That is Preventable
Smoking leads to the breakdown of the layer between the retina and the blood vessels that nourish it, reducing the delivery of blood and oxygen to the eye that are critical for its health. Smokers are up to five times as likely to lose their sight related to AMD in their lifetime.
Dark-green, Leafy Plants Support Eye Health
Studies show that the nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin present in dark-green plants like kale, spinach, collards, and mustard greens play an important role in maintaining healthy vision. These nutrients act like sunglasses that filter out damaging UV rays, protecting the retina and the overlying macula. They also act as free radical scavengers. The macula is critical to vision as this is where color and central vision are produced. Experts recommend eating dark green vegetables at least once each day.
Eat Brightly Colored Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants and help prevent AMD by providing protection against free-radicals and toxins. Antioxidant research supports the theory that higher intakes of vitamin C and E may help prevent or delay the development of AMD. Experts agree that eating brightly colored vegetables and fruits two to four times daily will help prevent AMD and provide support for optimally healthy eyes.
Eat Berries for Better Circulation to the Eyes
Berries contain a group of bioflavonoids known as anthocyanidins, which benefit the eyes by promoting the strength and elasticity of the tiny blood vessels that nourish the eyes and optic nerves. Research shows that berries improve circulation to the eyes and can slow the progress of AMD. Experts agree that people should consume berries at least three times a week.
Cold-Water Fish is the Best Source for Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Deficiencies in essential fatty acids including omega-3 fats can lead to impaired vision. Studies suggest that prolonged deficiencies of these essential fats might lead to AMD. Experts recommend two-three servings per week of cold-water fish including wild salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, and tuna.
Drink Green Tea
Green tea has ingredients that prevent the formation of abnormal blood vessels which can leak and destroy the macula in AMD. For this reason, drinking green tea could prevent and possibly treat macular degenerative eye disorders. Together with green tea’s high level of antioxidants, green tea is very beneficial and should be consumed twice daily.