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Baby Boomers and Reading

Research has recently accelerated as the first baby boomers have entered late middle age, the years when macular degeneration typically strikes. Estimates show as many as 6.3 million Americans could suffer from the condition by 2030.  Reading becomes difficult, and ultimately impossible.  The use of high power reading glasses can help up to a point.

The disease comes in two forms, called wet and dry. About 70 percent of patients have the dry form, a thinning of the macular tissues and changes in its pigmentation. The rest have the wet condition, with bleeding in and around the retina, opaque deposits and scar tissue.

Much about the condition, its causes, treatment and prevention, remains a mystery. Smoking is certainly linked to the wet form of the disease.

Dietary factors
Some research has associated macular degeneration with high levels of saturated fat, low carotenid pigments and other dietary substances. Dr. Matthew Benz, an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Baylor College of Medicine, recommends a diet of fresh fruit and dark green, leafy vegetables like collards and spinach. Benz also warns patients against commercial products that claim to prevent or cure the condition.

There are many purported treatments and cures with no science behind them, Benz said. People should be very skeptical of all these claims.

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