Macular Society, National Eye Health Week – Could our immune system be causing AMD?

28 September 2018
Source: Macular Society

Imagine not being able to read the newspaper, or enjoy the autumn flowers in the garden?Macular Society Logo Imagine seeing fuzzy images and blurred lines? This is what people living with Macular Degeneration, or AMD, deal with every day. In the UK, around 600,000 people are living with AMD and around 70,000 new cases are diagnosed every year: that’s nearly 200 every day!

We know that age and our family history influence the risk of developing AMD, but a number of other things could play a role. Smoking increases a person’s chances of developing AMD by 2-5 fold and certain life style choices, such as our diet or the amount of ‘stress’ we experience, can ‘speed’ up the symptoms. These may appear unrelated but if we look at the biology, an emerging trend is revealed: they are linked to inflammation.  National Eye health week 2018 logo

Inflammation helps us fight infections by recognising and removing bacteria and viruses. Take for example the complement proteins, which can ‘stick’ to the surface of bacteria to mark them for removal. Another mechanism is the release of highly reactive oxygen radicals, which kill bacteria by pierce holes in their surface. Control mechanisms are in place to protect our own cells and tissues, but when these fail, chronic inflammation and oxidative stress occurs: a major cause of age-related disease.

What has this got to do with AMD? Read more on the Macular Society Website

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