Over 10 million Americans are affected by macular degeneration, a number greater than the combined population of those with cataracts and glaucoma. Macular degeneration also serves as the number one cause of vision loss and is considered an incurable eye disease.
With the lack of treatment options, many have turned to CBD. CBD, the non-psychoactive component of cannabis, has shown an ability to alleviate an assortment of conditions. However, recent research has shown that CBD can worsen certain eye conditions such as glaucoma. To better examine CBD’s potential as a treatment for macular degeneration, we’ll explore why this eye disease occurs, its symptoms, and the science behind CBD.
What Is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration occurs when the central part of the retina, the macula, deteriorates. This part of the retina plays a key role in our eye’s central vision. As the macula deteriorates, it becomes increasingly difficult to observe the fine details of objects. This can then impact your ability to drive, read, and recognize faces.
With macular degeneration, there are two types – dry and wet. Close to 90 percent of all cases of macular degeneration are dry, or atrophic. The remaining portion of cases is considered wet, or exudative.
What Are The Stages Of Age-related Macular Degeneration?
There are three stages – early AMD, intermediate AMD, and late AMD. Those with early-stage AMD may not experience vision loss and are only diagnosed due to the presence of yellowish deposits underneath the retina. Intermediate AMD may include some vision loss and changes in the color of the pigment in the retina. With late AMD, vision loss will be noticeable.
What Are The Causes and Risk Factors?
Both hereditary and genetic factors play in the development of macular degeneration. However, several risk factors increase the likelihood of you developing eye disease. Age is the most prominent, but there are other risk factors:
What Are The Treatment Options?
There is no known treatment – no known cure, that is – for macular degeneration. Lifestyle changes, such as improving diet, working out, and protecting your eyes from ultraviolet light, may help slow the progression of the disease but won’t stop it outright.
While THC has been shown to help those with glaucoma, the same effect hasn’t been demonstrated with CBD. However, some studies have shown that CBD may potentially act as a tool to defend the retina against diabetes-induced damage and improve vision. A study from the United Kingdom also saw the potential of CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties in fighting macular degeneration. Of course, you shouldn’t embark on any treatment without first discussing the issue with your doctor. They are best equipped in diagnosing and treating the medical issue.