Currently, it is not possible to reverse or cure macular degeneration with natural remedies or prescription medications. However, natural supplements may help prevent or slow the condition’s progression.

Macular degeneration, or age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is a degenerative eye disease that can cause damage to the macula.

The macula is a part of the retina in the eye that controls central vision — sharp, clear vision of objects directly in front of a person. AMD can lead to blurring of central vision, which is often one of the first symptoms.

While a person cannot reverse macular degeneration using natural remedies, certain natural supplements may help slow the progression of the condition.

In this article, we will discuss whether it is possible to reverse AMD, some supplements and treatment options that may be available, whether a person can prevent AMD, and more.

A person looking through eye lenses-1.Share on Pinterest
Photo by marianna armata/Getty Images

It is not currently possible to reverse AMD, and there is no cure for the disease. However, depending on the type of AMD, people may be able to treat some of the symptoms and slow down further deterioration.

There are two types of AMD — dry AMD and wet AMD.

Dry AMD occurs when the macula degenerates as a person gets older. It typically progresses slowly over time and affects about 8 out of 10 people with AMD.

Wet AMD is less common and typically occurs more quickly. It occurs when atypical blood vessels grow under the retina, damaging the macula.

AMD is currently the leading cause of vision loss in older adults in the United States. It is best to treat AMD as early as possible. Therefore, it is advisable for a person to attend regular eye exams. Additionally, a person can use an Amsler grid to monitor their vision at home. If they notice any distortion, they should contact their eye doctor.

Several supplements may help slow the progression of AMD:

  • AREDS/AREDS 2: These dietary supplements contain large amounts of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, and copper. AREDS and AREDS 2 supplements may help slow down vision loss in a person with dry AMD. There are three stages of dry AMD: early, intermediate, and late. AREDS and AREDS 2 may be able to prevent intermediate AMD from progressing to late AMD.
  • Medicinal plants: A 2020 review notes that some medicinal plants, such as saffron, turmeric, ginkgo, bilberry, and blueberry, may have antioxidant properties that could help improve certain visual functions, including those associated with AMD.
  • Natural products: A 2021 review suggests that increasing consumption of carotenoids, lutein, and zeaxanthin may help delay late AMD. A person can consume these nutrients through food or by taking dietary supplements such as AREDS and AREDS 2.

A person who has AMD can help treat and manage the disease in several ways:

  • Eye-healthy foods: Consuming foods such as dark leafy greens, fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, and yellow fruits and vegetables may help slow the progression of AMD.
  • Anti-VEGF treatments: These are medications that a doctor delivers via an injection into the eye. They may help treat wet AMD.
  • Photodynamic therapy: This type of laser therapy, which involves a doctor shining a laser beam onto the atypical blood vessels, may help treat wet AMD.
  • Low vision aids: A person with AMD can use tools and devices such as higher watt light bulbs, specialized glasses, handheld magnifiers, magnifying spectacles, large print books, and video magnifiers to help them see better.
  • Vision rehabilitation specialist: A specialist can help a person learn to rely on their side or peripheral vision. They can also recommend low vision aids and show a person how to use them.

According to the National Eye Institute, a person can lower their risk of developing AMD in several ways, including:

AMD is a degenerative condition that can progress slowly. It some cases, it may not always present with symptoms right away. Using a device such as an Amsler grid can help a person monitor any changes in their vision.

It is important that a person contact a doctor as soon as they notice any vision changes. Treating AMD early can help prevent the disease from progressing and may prevent vision loss. The first symptom a person may notice is a blurring of their central vision.

Currently, it is not possible to cure or reverse macular degeneration with natural supplements or prescription medications. However, there are several natural supplements, including AREDS 2, that may help slow the progression of AMD.

Other ways to treat or manage AMD include injections into the eye, laser therapy, an eye-healthy diet, and use of low vision aids.

A person can reduce their risk of developing AMD by quitting smoking and making efforts to keep their blood pressure and cholesterol at healthy levels. It is advisable for a person to contact a doctor right away if they notice any changes in their vision.