Despite our best efforts, the effects of aging still have a profound effect on our bodies. This includes vision, which tends to degenerate over time due to the effects of aging. This is known as age-related macular degeneration, or AMD. It’s said that this vision loss can be irreversible if left untreated, leading to eventual blindness. One reason why it may take hold without anyone noticing is because it is painless, unless other ocular disorders. The main symptoms of AMD include a gradual loss of central vision when reading, writing, or driving.
A recent study published by the Archives of Ophthalmology shows that vitamin D may play a role in helping fight vision loss. Older women who exhibit low levels of vitamin D in their system may be more likely to suffer from AMD, leading to this loss of vision. A group of over 1300 women took part in this study, which took a look at the connection between age-related loss of vision and vitamin D. Because about 9% of Americans aged 40 and above experience the symptoms of AMD, the control group in this study was also of this age.
According to the lead investigator, Amy E. Millen, women younger than 75 who had concentrations of vitamin D lower than 38 nanomoles per liter showed signs of being more likely to have AMD than those whose levels were higher than this concentration. This was taken a step further, and the researchers also concluded that subjects who showed an even higher blood concentration of vitamin D had a 44% less risk of developing this vision loss. It’s important to note that this study only took a look at the subjects’ central vision, because AMD does not affect peripheral vision loss.
There are certain risk factors that can also contribute to the development of AMD in addition to age. Women are slightly more likely than men to develop this type of age related vision loss, although the exact reason why is currently unknown. In addition, smoking has been linked to this disease. There are two types of AMD, wet and dry. Wet is the more serious of the two, and can lead to full vision loss within two years of diagnosis, while dry AMD may only require the use of specialized reading glasses or a magnifying glass while reading.
In either case, it can be helpful to follow the advice of studies such as this one, and boost intake of vitamin D to help prevent this vision loss. While it may not prevent it entirely, this is a safe and natural way to potentially boost vision, and is worth discussing with a healthcare professional. Although vitamin D may be transmitted naturally through sunlight, those who live in cloudy climates or do not spend too much time outdoors will want to look for other sources. Certain foods such as fatty fish, fortified milk, or supplements can be additional sources of vitamin D in the diet.