open eye

Why Our Eyesight Deteriorates as We Age


Since age-related macular degeneration is a common eye condition among people over 50,  it is imperative that you look after your eyes as best you can.

The eye is often seen as one of the wonders of biology, allowing light rays to be transformed into sight.  As marvelous an achievement as this is, it is imperative that you look after your eyes as best you can.  As you age, prolonging your eyesight requires you to protect the cells in your eyes before they start to deteriorate.

How It Works
When you look at someone or something, light bounces off the subject and passes through the cornea, then the lens and hits the retina at the back of the eye.

Why It Works
The cornea and the lens focus the light onto the retina and it is here that the magic happens. The retina is made up of two main layers, the inner of which is covered with so-called ‘seeing cells’ that are termed rods and cones. In daylight, photons (the smallest unit of light) hit the cones and set off a series of biochemical reactions that result in impulses being sent down the optic nerve to the brain, where they are computed as sight. There are far more rods than cones in the inner layer of the retina and these are needed to help us see in the dark. They can be triggered to send impulses in lower levels of light, but are not as sensitive to colour as cones – hence why we can often only see in silhouettes in low lighting conditions.

Within the inner layer is the macula. It is only tiny – about 5mm in diameter – and contains the highest concentration of rods and cones. The light from the subject is focused by the lens onto the macula. Therefore, its health is essential for good central vision and if the macula is damaged, fine points in these images begin to blur.

On the outside of the retina is the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). It is a layer of cells behind the rods and cones that acts as an insulator layer between the highly sensitive cells and the choroid – the structure that supplies the retina with bloody oxygen and other nutrients. Think of the RPE as a filter that allows the rods and cones to work in a perfect biological environment. Many components in the blood could be harmful to the rods and cones, but these are kept at bay by a normal functioning RPE.

Why Doesn’t It Work as We Age?
Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is a common eye condition among people aged 50 and very widespread once individuals advance beyond 80 years of age. As such, it is the leading cause of vision loss in older adults. The condition occurs as the cells in the RPE that shield the macula gradually become thinner and degenerate. Without this crucial layer of protection, the high concentration of rods and cones in the macula find it hard to function so they also degenerate and die over time.

How to Keep the Macula Healthy for as Long as Possible
If you have ARMD, eye care professionals may suggest that you take a supplement that is rich in antioxidants and zinc. Research has shown that high doses of specific vitamins and minerals may slow the condition’s progress and allow the macula to stay healthier for longer.

MacuShield Gold contains the antioxidants Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Meso-Zeaxanthin, as well as Omega-3, zinc and other vitamins.

You can find out more about healthy eye supplements such as MacuShield Gold on this page.

Before embarking on any treatment, you’ll want to consult your physician for an accurate assessment of your eyesight.


Photo: spcbrass