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An open bottle of vitamins, pours out onto a table, creating a brighter path.

MYopia: The Difference Between AMD and MMD

In part one of this article, I wrote about the similarities and differences between age-related macular degeneration and myopic macular degeneration.

Diagnosed with myopic macular degeneration

For those who don’t know me yet, I’m Andrea! I am 37 years old (for just a couple more months) and I have myopic macular degeneration or MMD. I was diagnosed with MMD in 2007 when I was only 26 and newly pregnant with my oldest son. Obviously I was terrified and had no idea what to expect. Honestly, some days I'm still terrified, but at least now I know what to expect.

Educating myself about my diagnosisMy MMD diagnosis brought a whole new meaning to ‘what to expect when you’re expecting.’ Not only was I having my first baby but I also literally thought that I was going blind. I have found solace in educating myself on the ins and outs of macular degeneration. If you read my articles you’re likely to read about one of two things.Life changes with a vision loss diagnosisYou’ll either get some information about nutrition and exercise to help keep our bodies and eyes as healthy as possible. Or you'll get the raw truth about the rollercoaster of emotions that accompany a life-altering diagnosis like macular degeneration (including relationships, mental health, and therapy).Whole body healthMy passion lies with whole-body health for the specific purpose of helping our community members live our best and happiest lives while preserving our vision.For those of us with MMDFor those of us here with MMD, please know that I am here with you. When I was newly diagnosed I found out quickly that it was really difficult to find any information about MMD and even harder to find anyone going through what I was going through.But, there is hope for us and a lot that we can do to try to prevent further damage to our eyes. It’s important to know that most of what you’ll read about other forms of macular degeneration also pertain to us. One thing that comes to mind is vitamin supplementation - more on this to come later in this article.For those of us with AMDFor those of you with age-related macular degeneration (AMD or ARMD) who may be wondering what I’m doing writing about AMD when I don’t have it, please know that most of my research has been done about AMD. There just isn't enough information out there for MMD to know what to do about it. Over time, I’ve learned that there are some subtle differences between the two diagnoses, but they are very similar in regards to symptoms, treatment, and prevention. In fact, they are more similar than not.Healthy lifestyle changes and MMDIn part one of this article series, I mentioned that there is no cure for MMD. That means that the only control we have over our eye health and vision loss is to try to be as healthy as possible. One of the questions I see most from community members with myopic macular degeneration is about whether or not the AREDS formula vitamins ‘work’ for us.Vitamin supplementation for MMDThe answer isn’t very cut and dry. There is no specific research available for vitamin supplementation and myopic macular degeneration. This is why I chose to follow the guidelines for AMD when deciding what to do about my diagnosis. The AREDS studies have all been done in regard to age-related macular degeneration. For those of us with MMD that can be pretty discouraging, but here’s the way I see it…Setting eye-healthy goalsNo matter which type of macular degeneration we have, our goals are to keep our eyes as healthy as possible and to preserve our vision. In general, we know that the nutrients in the AREDS formula vitamins are healthy for our eyes. We each respond differently to supplementation of nutrients and have different needs when it comes to vitamins. For example, because of the Macula Risk Assessment I know that I should not take zinc. It is harmful to my eyes.Eye-healthy nutrients and lifestyle changesBut, lutein and zeaxanthin in the AREDS formula are especially good for EVERYONE’S eyes, macular degeneration or not. So, I choose to eat foods rich in these nutrients and supplement them by taking vitamins each day. I also personally choose to take Omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics for overall health. I exercise daily and I wear sunglasses.And to me, that has to be enough...or my mental health suffers from worry and anxiety about it all.Do you have myopic macular degeneration?Do you have myopic macular degeneration? If so, I'm so glad you're here with us. I'd love to hear from you, comment below! Ask anything or tell us how you’re feeling.Andrea Junge

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