AMD damages the macula, and as the disease progresses it blurs the patient’s central vision, meaning that the sufferer can no longer see people’s faces. The most common form is dry AMD where the light-sensitive cells in the macula slowly break down. Untreated dry AMD can progress into wet AMD, which is caused by the abnormal growth of blood vessels under the macula, leading to rapid loss of central vision.
The first AREDS report showed that high-dose antioxidant vitamins and minerals taken orally reduced the risk of progression to advanced AMD by 25 per cent, and the risk of moderate vision loss by 19 per cent. The second report focuses on the benefits of supplementing with lutein and zeaxanthin and is expected provide clinical evidence of its efficacy.
There is no cure for AMD, which is a major cause of sight loss, but delaying the onset of AMD is now thought to be possible with a combination of diet, lifestyle and nutritional supplements. When the results for AREDS2 are announced in Q2 2013 it is anticipated that GPs and opticians will see a surge in requests for AMD screening.
Electron Technology’s newest product, the Macular Pigment Screener (MPS II), is a new generation instrument for AMD screening.