Age-related Eye Disease Decreases among Americans

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A new study has found that the incidence of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of vision loss, has been on the decline over the past 15 years. The disease affects the macula, an area positioned in the center of the retina in the back of the eye. It is this part of the eye that allows fine detail to be seen. Development of AMD causes no pain and no vision changes are associated with the early stages of the disease. Vision loss is only usually apparent as the disease progresses and it is central vision, the vision required for everyday tasks such as driving and reading, that is affected by the disease. AMD typically affects individuals aged 60 years and over.

There are two main types of AMD: wet AMD and dry AMD. Wet AMD develops when abnormal blood vessels start to grow underneath the macula. These newly-formed blood vessels are fragile in their nature and their walls often leak blood and fluid into the back of the eye. This affects the positioning of the macula and damage to this part of the eye occurs as a result. Wet AMD is associated with rapid central vision loss. Wet AMD is an advanced form of AMD and unlike dry AMD, it does not develop in stages.

Dry AMD occurs as a result of the degeneration of light-sensitive cells making up the macula. The result of this process is a gradual blurring of central vision. As the disease progresses, the macula becomes less able to function efficiently and central vision is gradually lost.

Researchers investigating the prevalence of AMD analyzed AMD-related data obtained from the 7,081 participants of the 2005 to 2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). All the participants were assessed to investigate whether they showed the signs of AMD, with 6.5 percent of participants being found to have developed the disease. This is in contrast to the 1988 to 1994 NHANES study, which found 9.4 percent of participants to have the disease.These findings are consistent with those of other studies into AMD.

Studies investigating the prevalence of AMD found that ethnic minorities aged 60 years and over had a reduced rate of AMD in comparison to white individuals in the same age group. The rate of advanced AMD among all participants was found to be 0.8 percent.

According to Dr. Ronal Klein and colleagues, based at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, these new findings have important implications. The decrease in the prevalence of AMD may be a reflection of the nation’s overall health, as factors such as cigarette smoking, nutritional intake, physical activity levels and blood pressure all have an influence on the prevalence of AMD. Further studies will be required to determine whether public health programs designed to enhance public awareness of the relationship of these exposures to prevalence of AMD have resulted in a decline in AMD diagnosis rates.

For those with AMD, the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) conducted by the National Eye Institute has found that a specific high-dose formulation of zinc and antioxidants may prove beneficial in significantly reducing the chances of developing an advanced form of the disease. This special formulation, consisting of high doses of vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, zinc and copper, is recommended for those with intermediate stage AMD at a high risk of developing the advanced form of AMD. While researchers stress that the formulation is not a cure for the disease, it may delay the onset of its more advanced form. The AREDS formulation cannot be provided by diet or daily multivitamin intake alone.

For American residents with advanced AMD, getting out and about can often present significant challenges, especially for the elderly. Online pharmacies often become a lifeline when these individuals are unable to drive to their local pharmacy to collect their medications. has been providing medications to American and Canadian residents with AMD for many years. This fully licensed Canadian pharmacy offers Canadian drugs at exceptionally low prices. Customers are able to place their orders via mail, e-mail, fax, telephone or the website, and have their prescription and over-the-counter medications delivered directly to the door. The website boasts a lowest price guarantee and provides the utmost convenience. Their products are 100% genuine and they offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. The pharmacy is a valid member of and holds membership of the Canadian International Pharmacy Association (CIPA) and the International Pharmacy Association of British Columbia (IPABC),so customers of all levels of health can buy safely, without leaving the house.

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