Next, you will complete a comprehensive blood chemistry test panel. We are especially interested in assessing your hormone levels as hormone decline is associated with a number of age related health risks for individuals over the age of 55. Hormone decline is an unfortunate part of the aging process, and macular degeneration is an age-related disease. We measure your hormones and associated blood chemistry, identify deficiencies and recommend the appropriate hormone replacement program to provide the optimal levels of hormones to support healthy aging. Problem stated problem solved.
Another blood test we recommend is a methylation biochemistry test. Methylation is a crucial biochemical pathway in that directly impacts the health of the cells in your body. Testing, identifying and addressing methylation issues can help improve cellular health in a number of ways. One key way that methylation can impact macular degeneration is through the interaction of methylation pathway biomolecules and the gene regulation of VEGF. VEGF is signaling protein involved in the pathogenesis of wet macular degeneration.
Why methylation biochemistry and your hormones matter.
The methylation test also allows for the assessment of your degree of oxidative stress and in turn, inflammation. Oxidative stress and inflammation are key drivers of unhealthy aging and disease, which includes macular degeneration.
Nutrition is another crucial driver of cellular health. We perform a comprehensive review of your dietary patterns, nutritional genetic risk factors and when indicated, food sensitivity testing. Our dietitians will guide you through the process of implementing the dietary modifications that will help improve the health of your RPE cells and the other cells of your body.
The more data we have, the better we can define your care plan to help improve your health.
What has our experience been with other patients?
When we first starting working with eye patients using this approach over ten years ago, we were primarily focused on slowing down the progression of macular degeneration.
To our delight, we began to receive feedback from patients that included vision improvements when entering dark settings such as a movie theater. As we all know, entering a dark movie theater is a challenge for our eyes because we need to be able to switch from bright light to low light. This is called dark adaptation. Today there exists a test to detect early macular degeneration by examining dark adaption.
The conventional approach to nutritional therapy (AREDS) for slowing the progression of macular degeneration only slows vision loss in 1 in 17 individuals. Unfortunately, this approach does not improve vision and it does not prevent the disease from developing.
Much of what you have read up to now pertains to dry macular degeneration. If you had asked me four years ago if we could help wet macular degeneration I would have said no. Wet macular degeneration is different than dry macular degeneration. Wet macular degeneration involves the invasion of blood vessels through the RPE and under the macula. It’s a very serious problem and is a cause of severe vision loss and blindness. In the past, we would apply a laser to the new blood vessels in an effort to save vision. Unfortunately, the laser would also damage the macula, which would cause blind spots.
We never anticipated that our advanced wellness approach would help wet macular degeneration.
Pat had wet macular degeneration and was being treated with the current standard in wet macular degeneration care. Pat's medications were injected into her eye every six weeks. These injections lower VEGF levels in the eye, which in turn helps slow the progression of the disease (and vision loss). The problem is that after 6 months of injections, the therapy was NOT working. Pat's wet macular degeneration was progressing.
Pat enrolled in our program as a last resort, with little hope that her advanced wellness program would help. But it did. Pat’s injections started working, and after six months her eye health (and RPE cells) improved so much that her retina doctor stopped giving her the anti-VEGF injections. AMAZING. She is now four years out and has not required an injection. Pat's amazing story was covered on a local news
station in Cleveland.
How were we able to help Pat convert from wet back to dry macular degeneration? The short answer is that our program likely lowered inflammation and VEGF in the eye.
That is the story behind the macular program. We look forward to working with you to help improve the health of your eyes and your body.