The Macula is a highly pigmented region near the centre of the retina. It contains a high concentration of photoreceptor cells, which are responsible for visual sharpness, and a high concentration of carotenoid pigments which are thought to have a protective effect on the photoreceptors.
Adult Macula Degeneration (AMD) is the progressive destruction of the macula, leading to a loss of central vision, and eventual blindness. There are two forms of AMD- wet and dry.
Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is a retinal dystrophy caused by abnormalities of the photoreceptors or the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) of the retina leading to progressive sight loss. It is genetic disease affecting mostly young people. Saffron is believed to play a role in preventing of RP.
Saffron the dried stigma of the crocus flower, is currently the subject of intensive research in relation to its antioxidant and macula protective benefits.
Saffron is rich in carotenoids and carotenoid derivatives, many of which have potent antioxidant activity. The latest research shows that Saffron supplementation can improve retinal function in early stage of AMD sufferers as well as improving their visual acuity (sharpness). Studies also suggest that Saffron can play a role in treatment of Retinitis Pigmentosa (refer to the study information here).
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