November 2022 | Eurobio


Visual impairment is considered one of the significant health problems apart from the other common diseases and has a serious impact on the personal, economic, and social life of an individual. There are at least 2 billion people who suffer from visual impairment around the world and almost half of these cases could have been addressed and prevented. 

There are many conditions that will affect our vision such as refractive errors, cataract, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration, to name a few. These conditions normally disrupt the light that passes from our eyes to the brain. In this context, we will be talking about what is age-related macular degeneration, discussing what are the common symptoms and ways to prevent or delay the progression of this disease. 

What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD is an age-related eye disease that will affect our central vision. It happens when aging causes damage to the macular region of the eyes, which controls sharp, straight-ahead vision. As a result, people with AMD cannot see fine details, either near or far. In advanced stages of AMD, people may lose their ability to drive, see faces and to read. Currently there is no cure for AMD but treatment options are available to prevent or slow the progression of the disease. 

Common Causes of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration is the most common cause of visual impairment among people 50 and older. Although people rarely go blind due to AMD, it still affects the center of our vision and disrupts our day to day activities. 

The actual causes of AMD remain unknown but research indicates that a combination of heredity and environmental factors might contribute to the development of this disease. Risk of getting AMD increases if one is:

  • Over 50 years old
  • Overweight
  • Smoking
  • Having a diet that is high in saturated fat
  • Having family history of AMD
  • Having high blood pressure

What are the symptoms of Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

AMD in its early stages may have no signs or symptoms therefore people may not suspect they have it until they notice changes to their eyesight. Every individual may experience different symptoms of AMD but the most common symptoms are as follows:

  • Mild blurriness in their central vision or trouble seeing in low lighting, which is necessary for driving, reading or performing certain tasks
  • Straight lines start to look wavy or crooked
  • Difficulty recognizing familiar faces
  • Blurry area may gets bigger and may see blank spots

Experiencing metamorphopsia symptoms, where a linear object looks curvy or a flat thing looks rounded indicates a warning sign for late AMD.

What are the different types and stages of age-related macular degeneration?

There are two primary types of age-related macular degeneration, which are dry AMD and wet AMD. Both have different causes and people can develop both types of the disease, whether it’s in one or both eyes:

  • Dry AMD, which is also called atrophic AMD. Dry AMD is the most common form, with about 80% of those with AMD having the dry form. The exact cause of dry AMD is unknown, both genetic and environmental factors are thought to play a role in the disease progression. Dry AMD happens when the macula gets thinner with age, and it usually progresses slowly over the years with a gradual loss of vision. It happens in 3 stages: early, intermediate and late. Late Dry AMD has no treatment, but there are ways that can be done to protect or to reduce the effect of vision loss on your life and to make the most out of the remaining vision.
  • Wet AMD, which is the less common type of AMD. Wet AMD usually causes faster vision loss and it is the most common cause of severe loss of vision. This type of AMD happens when abnormal blood vessels start to grow in the back of the eye. Fluid or blood will leak into the macula, causing damage to the macula which leads to severe vision loss. Dry AMD can turn to wet AMD at any stage but it is always at the late stage when it reaches wet AMD. Treatment options are also available for wet AMD.

How is Age-Related Macular Degeneration Diagnosed?

Besides the regular family history and medication review, there are several test that will be carried out to diagnose AMD:

  • Visual acuity test

    This is a common eye chart test that measures vision ability at various distances.

  • Examination of the back of the eye

    The optometrist will put drops in the eyes to dilate them and use some tools to examine the back of your eyes to check your vision. These drops may make your vision blurry therefore do not drive or operate machinery after your vision is back to normal.

  • Fluorescein angiography

    This test involves injecting a special dye into a vein in the arm. As the dye passes through the blood vessels in the retina, pictures are taken with a special camera to detect any leaking abnormal blood vessels or retinal changes. This test is used to detect wet AMD.

  • Amsler grid test

    Amsler grid, which is a checkerboard like grid, can be used to detect any visual impairment by determining if the straight lines in the pattern appear faded, broken or distorted. These indications may signal the possibility of AMD.

How To Manage Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

Do not be overly worried even if you had received a diagnosis of AMD, as there are steps and healthy habits that can be taken to help and slow down the disease progression

  • Quit smoking

    Smoking exposes you to dangerous free radicals that will cause damage to our eyes and will increase your risk of getting AMD.

  • Choose a healthy diet

    Consume more leafy greens such as spinach, kale and broccoli as these contain antioxidants and vitamins, including lutein and zeaxanthin that are good for people with AMD. Foods that are high in zinc and protein content are also beneficial to eye health.

  • Take supplements

    People with AMD may benefit from a mixture of vitamins and minerals as stated in ARED (Age-Related Eye Disease) study 2. These vitamins include lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and copper. It is also recommended to add in omega-3 fatty acids to help with anti-inflammation. These supplements, although not a cure for AMD, may help to slow the disease in some people with certain forms of AMD.

  • Maintain a healthy blood pressure and weight 

    Poor blood circulation due to uncontrolled blood pressure will restrict blood flow to the eyes and worsen the condition of AMD. Losing weight will help to achieve healthy blood pressure easier.

  • Wearing sunglasses outdoors

    Wearing sunglasses can protect our eyes from the harmful effect of UV and blue rays which will cause retinal damages after prolonged exposure.

There are also certain treatment options available for wet AMD such as photodynamic therapy and injections given directly into the eyes. These treatment options destroy the abnormal blood vessels that cause wet AMD and stops vision from getting worse.

As the symptoms of age-related macular degeneration may look like other eye conditions, having a routine eye exam is important especially when you are above 50 for early detection of AMD or any other age-related eye diseases. With early detection, treatment can start earlier and preventive measures can be taken as well.


  • Boyd, K. (2022, July 25). Vitamins for AMD. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Retrieved November 8, 2022, from
  • Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2020, December 11). Wet macular degeneration. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved November 9, 2022, from 
  • NHS choices. Retrieved November 11, 2022, from,stop%20your%20vision%20getting%20worse. 

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What is Stress?

Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension that differs from person to person. Generally it can be defined as the degree when one feels overwhelmed or unable to cope with the current situation. Stress is extremely common and can affect anyone at any age. 

Research has shown that more than three-quarters of adults report physical symptoms of stress, including headache, tiredness, or sleeping problems. At times, stress response does provide positive effects as it can help us to push through difficult situations as long as it does not become excessive or too much to deal with. We will be discussing the possible causes of stress and its positive and negative impact on our mental and physical health in this post. 

What are the signs of stress?

Stress isn’t technically a disease, although it can have lasting effects on an individual’s mental and physical health. During stressful situations, our body will release various stress hormones that will adjust our heart rate, breathing, vision and more to prepare our body to cope with a fight-or-flight response. This is called the stress response. When stress response is activated for a long period due to chronic stress, it will cause wear and tear on the body. Physical, emotional and behavioral symptoms will develop.

Some common physical symptoms of stress include:

  • Chest pain with a racing heart
  • Headaches, dizziness and trembling 
  • Unexplained pains and aches
  • Having trouble sleeping and feeling exhausted
  • High blood pressure
  • Problems with digestion
  • Falling sick often with a weak immune system

Stress can also lead to emotional symptoms, such as:

  • Anxiety and restlessness
  • Sadness and depression
  • Having episodes of panic attacks

People constantly suffering from stressful situations might also develope certain unhealthy behavior such as:

  • Gambling
  • Excessive drinking
  • Overeating or eating disorder
  • Drugs or substances abuse


What are the types of stress?

There are many types of stress.  Some can be a short-term while some are long-term problems, depending on what changes your life. The three main types of stress are:

Acute Stress

Acute stress is relatively common and can happen to anyone. It can be caused by many things such as losing a loved one or being in an accident. People may also feel acute stress when they are having enjoyable moments such as preparing for an interview, trying out new things or anticipating new events in life such as moving a house or getting married.  

Due to its short duration, acute stress normally does not have serious consequences on our physical and mental health. However they may show signs and symptoms such as:

  • Having distressing thoughts, dreams, nightmares, and flashbacks of the event
  • Trying to avoid people, places or things that will remind them of that stressful event
  • Having difficulties to focus on details and paying attention
  • Feeling of restlessness and anxiety

Episodic acute stress

Episodic acute stress happens when acute stress is experienced more frequently on a regular basis. Although one may suffer more frequently than an acute stress, episodic stress is not continual and will stop from time to time. This type of stress is experienced most commonly in people who are naturally anxious, irritable or short-tempered. It is also often seen in people who make unrealistic or unreasonable demands of themselves, causing them stress while attempting to achieve their goals.

There are several reasons on why and when this may happen:

  • Regular presentations at work
  • Taking up too much responsibilities and feeling overwhelmed
  • Having to visit doctors very often due to a medical condition  
  • Being responsible for loved ones with recurring challenges & problems

Chronic stress

When your stress level is high for an extended period of time or keeps coming back, you are experiencing chronic stress. Chronic stress is ongoing stress with no or limited relief, and normally experienced by people or carers dealing with prolonged health issues or disabilities. Chronic stress also affects people who:

  • Have ongoing financial difficulties
  • Are victims of abuse
  • Experiencing discrimination
  • Has low self-esteem
  • Has limited support and social network

Long term stress has negative impact on health, such as:

  • Having anxiety or depression
  • Having hypertension and type 2 diabetes 
  • Higher risk of stroke and heart attack
  • Weakened immune system, which will increase risk of infection

Sometimes, it is also possible to develop and be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a stressful event or a series of stressful events. Although most people will be able to cope and adjust their life back after a period of time, people with PTSD will suffer the symptoms for months, even years, and the symptoms might even get worse. This will interfere with their day-to-day life, and will require professional help.

What is the physiological impact of stress?

Besides affecting your body mentally, stress may cause other physiological impacts that affect our physical health, especially chronic stress. 

Some physiological health conditions from chronic stress could be:

Is there any positive impact of stress?

Not all types of stress are harmful and negative. Manageable stress increases our alertness and performance. Research has shown that a small amount of stress is needed and they are good to push us to a level of optimal alertness, behavioral and cognitive performance. 

Positive stress or eustress, although fairly new to all of us, is the type of stress response that we feel when we are excited. It helps us stay motivated, work towards our goal and makes us feel good about life. Examples of positive stress includes:

  • Going on a first date
  • Trying out a new activity or new exercise
  • Going for an interview or getting promoted at a job
  • Taking on a new project or learning something new
  • Sitting for an examination

What are the common triggers of stress?

Frequently the source of stress is rooted in changes. The cause and triggers can be different for everybody, but the common life problems or situation that may be stressful for individuals are:

  • Financial problems
  • Changing job
  • Moving house or relocate to another country
  • Relationship problems with one or a few members in the family
  • Undergoing a breakup or divorce
  • Recent traumatic events such as the death of a family member
  • Having chronic illness or injury, or being a carer of a person with chronic illness

Stress is not only caused by big important events. It might be a build-up of a lot of smaller things as well, such as:

  • Having overwhelming responsibilities
  • Going through a period of uncertainties in life
  • Not having control over the outcome of a situation
  • Being bullied in school or discriminated at work

How to keep your stress levels healthy?

Since avoiding stress is inevitable, we should learn how to manage stressful situations. These activities may help us to relax and cope with our stress level:

  • Take care of your body by eating healthy food, with lots of essential nutrients. If getting enough nutrients is not manageable due to time, consider supplementation as some vitamins or minerals may help with balancing your moods
  • Try and exercise regularly, even if it means taking a short walk out in nature as moving your body has many benefits for your mental and emotional wellness.
  • Connect with friends and family, and share with them your concerns and how you feel, whenever necessary, and get advice if you need
  • Make time for yourself and doing activities that you enjoy most such as reading a book, watching a movie or even just lying in bed
  • Practice relaxation technique such as deep, slow breathing and yoga to help with muscle relaxation and self awareness

Although there are some positive impacts of stress, learning how to manage our stress is important to lessen the impact of stress to our health. Do not be afraid to seek professional help from your doctor if you ever experience physical or emotional stress that affect your day-to-day activities.



  • Robert Sanders, M. relations| A. 16, & Sanders, R. (2015, July 9). Researchers find out why some stress is good for you. Berkeley News. Retrieved November 5, 2022, from
  • Stress: Signs, symptoms, management & prevention. Cleveland Clinic. (n.d.). Retrieved November 1, 2022, from 

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