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Eye health: Nutritionist reveals foods that protect your eyes

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Age-related macular degeneration – also known as AMD – is a common condition that is most likely to affect a person in their 50s and 60s. It affects the middle part of your vision and at first the sight becomes blurred and distorted. If it worsens you might have difficulty seeing anything in the middle of your vision.

AMD can make many everyday activities such as driving, watching television, reading and recognising faces difficult.

According to the NHS, other symptoms include:

  • Seeing straight lines as wavy or crooked
  • Objects looking smaller than normal
  • Colours seeming less bright than they used to
  • Seeing things that are not there (hallucinations).

There is currently no cure for AMD but there are some treatments available that can slow the progression.

However, new research suggests that taking lipid-lowering drugs and antidiabetic drug use could lower the risk of AMD.

The study, which was published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, was conducted as part of the European Eye Epidemiology consortium.

This involved more than 38,000 adult participants.

The study highlights the need for AMD treatment.

It says: “Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause for severe visual impairment and blindness in high-income countries and particularly affects the population above the age of 55 years.

“Despite decades of research, we still lack therapeutic measures and interventions to prevent AMD or slow down progression, underscoring the need for better understanding and novel prevention or therapeutic strategies.

“Previous studies investigated the relation of AMD and different systemic medications, synthroid i which interfere with pathways that also play a role in AMD pathogenesis and hence may affect it.

“These include lipid-lowering drugs (LLD) for the lipid metabolism and lipid accumulation, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) and antidiabetic drugs (particularly metformin), which may reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, and levodopa (L-Dopa), which was reported to upregulate the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) metabolism.

“Results of studies to date, however, have been inconsistent, based on small sample size or using self-reported AMD as outcome.

“Thus, it remains unclear as to whether any of these drugs are associated with AMD.”

It goes on to explain: “The retina is a metabolically highly active tissue with a large turnover of lipids and proteins and several metabolites have been associated with AMD occurrence.

“Resulting degradation products lead to the formation of drusen, which represent a hallmark AMD lesion and contain oxidated debris of lipids and proteins.”

Lipids are fatty compounds that can be found in the blood.

Lipid-lowering drugs include statins, which are taken to lower cholesterol levels.

Antidiabetic drugs include Metformin and are used to keep blood sugar levels under control.

The paper concludes: “Our study suggests that regular intake of LLD and antidiabetic drugs is associated with reduced prevalence of AMD in the general population.

“Given a potential interference of these drugs with pathophysiological pathways relevant in AMD, this may contribute to a better understanding of AMD aetiology.”

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