AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION

What was the Age-Related Eye Disease study?

The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), supported by the National Eye Institute, studied the effects of antioxidants and zinc on the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and vision loss associated with AMD.

What are the results of AREDS?

AREDS found that high levels of antioxidants and zinc:

  • reduced the risk of progression to advanced AMD by about 25%
  • reduced the risk of vision loss from AMD by about 19%

What vitamins should I take?

Please see the list at the end of this page.

Should I include lutein and zeaxanthin?

Lutein and zeaxanthin were not studied in the AREDS. However, there is uncontrolled scientific data to suggest that they may be helpful for patients with AMD.

Where can I get these supplements?

These dietary supplements are available individually, without a prescription, at most drug and grocery stores.  Pharmaceutical companies have produced a single supplement that contains all of the vitamins that is needed in a single tablet.

What you should know:

  • Dietary supplementation is not a cure for AMD and will not restore vision that has been lost.
  • Before taking supplements patients should discuss the high level of nutrients with their internal medical doctor.
  • Daily multi-vitamins usually do not contain high enough concentrations of the vitamins needed to protect against AMD. Check with a pharmacist to be sure you are obtaining the amounts of vitamins needed to protect against AMD.
  • Beta-carotene is not recommended for smokers, as it has been shown to increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers.
  • Results of the AREDS.

Dietary Supplements and ARMD

In order to have the protective effect for AMD that was found in AREDS, patients must take the exact combination and amounts of vitamins listed here.

  • Vitamin C, 500mg daily
  • Vitamin E, 400 IU daily
  • Beta-carotene, 15mg daily
  • Zinc, as zinc oxide, 80mg daily
  • Copper, as cupric oxide, 2mg daily

For more information:

More information of AREDS is available from the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health, www.nei.nih.gov/amd.