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February is AMD Awareness Month

February is Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Awareness Month. Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is a retinal degenerative disease that causes progressive loss of central vision. The risk of developing macular degeneration increases with age and is the most common cause of vision loss in individuals over the age of fifty-five. There are approximately 200,000 new cases of wet macular degeneration in the United States each year.

Studies have shown that a diet (or supplement) containing quality omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zeaxanthin, and potentially mesozeaxanthin leads to an increase in macular pigment optical density (MPOD). Higher MPOD helps reduce glare by absorbing blue light, increases vision and contrast sensitivity, and decreases chromatic aberrations. These positive changes to MPOD improve one’s nighttime vision (i.e. night driving) in young healthy eyes, and especially in the eyes of older adults. Addition of these nutrients has also shown to help in preventing AMD in preliminary studies.