Actress Judi Dench, famed for her many roles of playing dignified, strong willed women in positions of authority who are sometimes opposed or criticized by those under her, is now under a new form of criticism: age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Reading scripts for her upcoming roles (as James Bond’s boss, included!) has now become difficult, because with AMD the area of the retina (the back of the eye) responsible for sharp, central vision, called the macula, is gradually destroyed. This central vision is needed for seeing objects clearly, recognizing faces and for common daily tasks such as reading and driving.
Symptoms include blurred vision, difficulty seeing at a distance or doing detailed work. Blind spots develop in the middle of the field of vision, colors becoming hard to distinguish and distortion causing edges or lines to appear wavy. AMD can eventually lead to blindness.
There are two forms of AMD, wet and dry. Although dry is by far the most common form, unfortunately drugs are only available for wet AMD.
Dame Judi Dench says she has dry AMD in one eye and wet AMD in the other, but has released statements saying that she is not going blind.
This is most likely because she is receiving treatments such as injections into her eye to help reduce the degeneration process and, in some cases, restore some vision loss.
Some doctors might send you home to go blind, but there have been cases of reversing AMD and other common eye diseases. High intake of dark green vegetables (spinach, broccoli, kale, ect.) and orange colored veggies (carrots, eggs, etc.) have the right vitamins that are vital to eye repair and maintenance.
You can opt to go for high doses of the same supplements found in those foods to naturally treat age-related macular degeneration.
Lutien and Zeaxanthin
- Lutein and zeaxanthin are naturally occurring plant pigments in dark leafy greens, including kale, spinach, romaine lettuce and green leaf lettuce. They are also in a variety of other vegetables, including broccoli, squash, bell peppers, carrots and tomatoes. Eggs are another good source of these important phytonutrients.
- There is no RDA for lutein and zeaxanthin. But some researchers suggest you need at least 6-10 mg of lutein daily for good eye health.
- There are some good dietary sources of selenium: egg yolks, seafood, poultry, beef and whole grains contain the highest amounts. Brazil nuts are the most concentrated food source of selenium, featuring about 70-110 micrograms per nut.
- To guarantee that you’re getting sufficient amounts in your diet use a 200 mcg supplement daily.
- Top sources include oranges, red and green bell peppers, grapefruit, strawberries, broccoli and kale.
- Take up to 4000mg – you’ll know you are taking to much if you get diarrhea.
- For a beta-carotene boost, choose apricots, carrots, sweet potatoes, collard greens, beet greens, turnip greens, kale, spinach, papaya, red bell pepper, cantaloupe, winter squash and romaine lettuce.
- The National Institutes of Health recommend adult males include 3,000 IU and adult females include 2,310 IU of beta-carotene in their diet.
- To be sure you’re getting enough zinc, enjoy wheat germ, garbanzo beans, black-eyed peas, sunflower seeds, almonds, tofu, brown rice, milk, ground beef and chicken.
- The recommended dosage for eye health is 80mg/day.
- Sunflower seeds and almonds are excellent sources of vitamin E. Other vitamin E-rich foods include hazelnuts, peanut butter, spinach, avocados, olive oil and whole grains.
- The daily RDA for vitamin E is 15 mg (22.5 IU) for teens and adults for healthy vision.
Dame Judi Dench is so brave to come forward with this AMD story. Perhaps it will encourage others to get a dilated eye exam, which can reveal even the early stages of age-related macular degeneration.
Dame Judi said her mother also had macular degeneration:
“I’ve got what my ma had, macular degeneration, which you get when you get old,” she said.