Macular degeneration is a common eye disease that can lead to vision loss, particularly in older adults. It causes the macula, a central part of the retina, to deteriorate. Because the macula is responsible for our central vision, any damage to it would affect one’s ability to read, drive, recognize faces, or participate in other everyday activities.
Macular pigment density testing is one of the critical tests for assessing a person’s risk of developing macular degeneration. The test measures the level of zeaxanthin and lutein, two pigments found in the retina that protect photoreceptors.In this post, we'll discuss the importance of macular pigment density, and how omega-3 and blue light protection can help to prevent macular degeneration.
The Importance of Macular Pigment Density Testing for Eye Health
Macular pigment density testing is a straightforward test that takes only a few minutes to perform. The goal of the test is to determine the patient’s level of zeaxanthin and lutein in the retina. A density of 0.5 and above is ideal because studies have shown that this is the level of macular pigment density that has the highest protective benefits for long-term eye health.
When macular pigment density is below the recommended level, it can be improved through supplementation, which your eye doctor can recommend. Another effective way is to block blue lights which are notorious for reducing macular pigment. The good thing is you only need to get to 0.5 or more, which is very achievable at Hartland EyeCare. Book an appointment with us now to start improving your macular pigment density and overall eye health.
Omega-3 Vs. Omega-6 for Retinal Health
One of the ways to ensure a healthy amount of macular pigment is to keep omega-3 levels high in the body.
Omega-3 is a critical ingredient for retinal health, and maintaining optimal levels is crucial to eye health and clear sight. It’s so essential that your body will automatically take omega-3 from other parts of your body and put it in the brain and eyes, where it is needed most.
To increase omega-3 levels, eat fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and others with high levels of omega-3. If you find it challenging to consume seafood, supplementation is a good option but be on the lookout for supplements that come in the triglyceride format, as they are the most beneficial.
Although they are more expensive, triglyceride supplements are worth the investment because they come in the natural form you will find in actual seafood. The alternative is commercially-processed fish oil or krill oil which often aren’t organic and therefore may not have the same effect or provide the desired outcome.
While it is important to increase your intake of high-level sources of Omega-3, you should also limit your intake of omega-6, which competes with omega-3 but is neither healthy nor helpful to eye health. So we recommend that you steer clear of highly processed oils like canola oils and seed oils, which are high in Omega-6 fats.
Blue Light Protection for Retinal Health
Another way to maintain the right level of macular pigment density and keep macular degeneration at bay is to protect the eyes from blue light exposure. The energy emitted from blue light is much higher than other colors and has been found to be harmful to your retina.
To reduce blue light exposure during the day, wear blue-blocking glasses while using digital screens. Using computers and other digital devices is almost unavoidable these days, but you can rely on software applications like Flux to help reduce the blue light emitted from those screens, giving a gentler orange-colored light.You may sometimes have to toggle between the orange light and blue light modes to see colors accurately, especially in professional settings.
It's equally important to protect your eyes from blue light at night. To minimize the negative effects of blue light exposure at night, it's recommended to keep your environment completely dark from 11 PM to 4 AM. Wearing a sleep mask and sleeping in a dark or dimly-lit room can help. Doing these will not only keep your eyes healthy and help protect you from macular degeneration, but also allow the brain release melatonin, a hormone that supports sound sleep and overall eye health.
Macular Pigment Density Testing in Hartland TownshipIn Hartland Township, Hartland EyeCare offers macular pigment density testing to help you achieve a safe level of 0.5 and above.
Schedule an appointment with us today and let our well-equipped team assist you in reaching the optimal level of macular pigment density for healthy vision.