Diet Can Help Protect You From Macular Degeneration

macular degeneration
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Emma Yasinski
Emma Yasinski Staff Writer

You’ve heard the words macular degeneration, but what do you know about the disease and its recommended treatments? What can you do to lessen its effects? Read on to find out more.

Only one treatment exists for what’s called wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a progressive disease that causes blindness emanating from the center of the eye. To treat it, your doctor gives you direct injections of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) into the affected eye. For the more common dry AMD, there aren’t any approved treatments. But there are two well-known ways to reduce your risk of getting AMD: avoid smoking and eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables that is light on red meats and saturated fats. 

In 2010, macular degeneration impacted more than two million people in the US. That number is expected to reach over five million as the population ages between now and 2050. About 10% of those people will have wet AMD, a type of AMD in which your blood vessels grow under the retina and leak blood from there. Wet AMD is generally more aggressive than dry AMD and leaves people with worse vision.

VEGF injections help blood vessels grow in the eye to limit the damage done by these rogue blood vessels. A physician administers regular injections directly into your eye after providing anesthetic eye drops, which limit pain from the treatment.

If you have dry AMD, which has no treatment options, there is a combination of vitamins, carotenoids and minerals that researchers believe can slow the disease’s progression, if you’ve already reached moderate to severe symptoms. The AREDS2 (Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2) supplement contains vitamins C and E, the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, and the minerals zinc and copper. It’s best to talk with your doctor about taking these substances, and always make sure that the brand you’re using has been inspected by a third party. 

Some supplement manufacturers hire outside quality testers to test their supplements for purity. After they pass inspection, the products are given a seal of approval. Look for labels from NSF International, UL, and U.S. Pharmacopeia. The website Labdoor is also a great source. These are all independently run websites that test the ingredients of supplements and give them a grade based on purity and safety. 

A strong body of research supports the idea that maintaining a diet low in saturated fat, such as the Mediterranean one, can help stave off macular degeneration symptoms before they begin. Your diet should include lots of fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats, such as those found in salmon and olive oil. 

Below, MedShadow has collected Mediterranean diet-friendly recipes from TikTok to get you started.

Fuel your family with quick lemon-garlic shrimp with roasted potatoes and asparagus.


@conscious_christina A simple 20 minute Mediterranean diet dinner for y’all! #mediterraneandiet #consciouschristina #healthycooking ♬ original sound – Christina Z

Fill up with a brightly colored, crunchy and fresh chickpea salad.

@chefsanantonio 7 days or heart healthy recipes. Day 7: Mediterranean chickpea salad #mediterranean #mediterraneandiet #chickpeas #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedtiktok #healthyfood #healthyrecipe #easyrecipe #nutritiousanddelicious #nutritiousfood #nutritiousmeal #healthylifestyle #healthylifestyletips #healthycooking #heatfree #dairyfreerecipe #mealplanningtips #mealprep #mealan #budgetmeal ♬ YOU’RE MY SUNSHINE – The Upsided

Keep going all day with a dish of whole grain pasta, tomatoes, spinach and capers.

@drterrysimpson #mediterraneandiet #mediterranean #diet #pasta #pastatiktok #pastarecipe #healthy #healthyliving #learnontiktok #weightloss #dr #food #foodtiktok #wls ♬ original sound – Terry Simpson309

Have a tasty Mediterranean-style salmon bowl–low in carbs, high in proteins, vitamins and healthy fats.

@nutritiouslyeasy favorite #goto #dinner #healthydinner #paleodinner #whole30dinner #pescetarian #healthyfats #omega3 #glowingskin #thatgirl #mediterraneandiet #healthy ♬ Wannabe – Spice Girls

Wash only one pan after you fix these simple, healthy Mediterranean-style chicken thighs.

@foodgirlmel one “pan” Mediterranean chicken 🥘 #onepanmeal #chicken #mediterranean #food #foodtiktok #recipe #fyp #foryoupage #viral #duet #OREOBdayStack #OutlanderChallenge ♬ Roxanne – Instrumental – Califa Azul

Make these breakfast bowls ahead of time for a satisfying start to the day.

@themediterraneandish Mediterranean Breakfast Bowls, the perfect way to use up your veggies! #breakfastideas #healthyrecipes #mediterraneanfood #mediterraneandiet #foodtok ♬ FEEL THE GROOVE – Queens Road, Fabian Graetz

Get a punch of antioxidants by eating flavorful tabbouleh–with bulgur and lots of parsley.

@feelgoodfoodie Teaching you how to make authentic tabbouleh – none of that supermarket stuff! #learnontiktok #tiktokpartner #mediterraneandiet #healthyrecipes ♬ original sound – Feel Good Foodie



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Jim M

I eat carrots every day and take a cod liver oil capsule when retiring at nite. I get eye strain from computer and 46 security cameras.I’m 77 so hoping this will protect me from AMD. I eat good.