Macular degeneration is an eye disease that affects the tissue in the eye responsible for central vision. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of this condition may include: the need for more light while reading, blurriness of words, difficulty seeing faces and a general haziness of vision. Risk factors for macular degeneration are family history, cigarette smoking and having light colored eyes. Women and people over 60 years old are also at higher risk. Alternative treatments, however, may provide some relief.
Antioxidants and Zinc
According to the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), patients with macular degeneration may benefit from antioxidant supplements. These supplements may prevent and slow the progression of macular degeneration.
Talk with your doctor about taking 500 mg of vitamin C, 400 IU of vitamin E, 15 mg of beta carotene and 80 mg of zinc oxide. Taking 2 mg of copper may also provide some benefit. People who smoke, however, shouldn’t take the beta carotene supplement because there may be a link between beta carotene and lung cancer, according to the AAO.
Acupuncture has been used to cure health ailments in China for centuries. Therapists believe that placing tiny needles throughout the body corrects energy flow and helps symptoms of macular degeneration improve. However, more research is needed in this area to discover the benefits of acupuncture treatments.
Sight Enhancement Treatments
According to the AMD Alliance International, rehabilitation services are available which can help patients preserve their remaining eyesight and maintain their independence. During these treatments, the therapist will help you make changes in your home such as adjusting lighting, using magnifiers to read or obtaining special appliances that have larger numbers to prevent strain on the eyes. Ask your doctor to refer you to a rehabilitation therapist in your area.
When to Call a Doctor
When using alternative treatments for macular degeneration, partner with your doctor to monitor symptoms. If you experience hallucinations or continue to have changes in your vision, contact your doctor right away. Your doctor should monitor your vision regularly using an “Amsler grid.” This is a simple testing tool that helps monitor changes in the vision, according to the Mayo Clinic.