Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A leading cause of blindness is on the decline

"Age related macular degeneration" (AMD), a disease most prevalent in women over 60, is on the decline according to a study by the Archives of Ophthalmology.  The number of Americans who suffer from age-related macular degeneration is down by nearly a third.

Macular degeneration damages the middle of the retina, making it hard to see small details.  While scientists aren’t certain as to what causes the disease, they often refer to it as “Age Related Macular Degeneration” because people over 60 tend to develop the disease at a higher rate than other age groups. 

“"There have been a number of changes over time that might have a relationship to the findings in this paper. There's been less current smoking in the population. . . . [w]e need to examine these relationships and see if they explain this difference,” said Dr. Ronald Klein, author of the study. 

Risk factors for the disease, according to Google Health, are:

-         Heredity
-         Smoking
-         Diet (high fat)
-         Gender (female)
-         Race (Caucasian)
-         Health (obesity

“No treatment exists for dry macular degeneration. However, a combination of vitamins, antioxidants, and zinc may slow the progression of the disease,” (Source: Google Health)

For more reading on this news, read the CNN article here

Image: Michelle Meiklejohn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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