If you have intermediate or advanced Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), the AREDS 2 dietary supplement might help. In fact, many doctors are recommending it.
AREDS stands for Age-Related Eye Disease Study, conducted by the National Eye Institute after scientists began noticing that diets high in certain vitamins and minerals appeared to stop AMD from worsening.
“Observational studies had demonstrated a possible causal link between a healthy diet high in antioxidants and reducing the progression of macular degeneration,” reports Caesar Luo, M.D., a vitreo-retinal surgeon in Oakland, CA. “Small clinical series showed similar results.”
Among 3,600 people with intermediate or advanced AMD, the supplement reduced the risk of wet AMD, the most advanced form of the disease, by about 25% over five years.
The supplement combines vitamins and minerals that help protect your eyes against free radicals that damage the cells in your macula, the center part of your retina. Based on extensive research, AREDS 2 is formulated with specific amounts of vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin and copper to address this issue.
Nathan D. Rock, O.D., an optometrist at Wang Vision Institute in Nashville, says the supplement is best for those with intermediate or advanced AMD, as studies have yet to show that it helps with early macular degeneration or prevents the disease in the first place.
“Some people will take it, and it certainly won’t do any harm,” he says. “However, the research hasn’t proven preventative benefits.”
If you’re interested in prevention, regular visits to a licensed eye doctor would be a good place to start. Meanwhile, a vision plan from your association and AMBA could help you save hundreds on everything from exams to eyewear.
It’s easy to take our eyes for granted. Take care of them—however you can.