Slowing the progression of macular degeneration

To slow the disease, if you smoke, stop immediately.

Certain vitamin supplements help somewhat.

The original Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), published in 2001, examined the effects of vitamins and minerals on AMD. After more than 5 years, participants receiving both 500 mg Vitamin C, 400 IU Vitamin E, 15 mg beta carotene and 80 mg zinc showed a statistically significant decrease in progression to advanced AMD.

A follow-on study, AREDS2, published earlier this year, investigated altering the AREDS formula by adding lutein and zeaxanthin, the primary carotenoids in the eye, and omega-3 fatty acids. Other changes included reducing the amount of zinc to 25 mg, and removing beta carotene, since studies suggest it may increase cancer risk in smokers.

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Results from AREDS2 showed that reduced amounts of zinc were equally effective, and adding lutein and zeaxanthin benefited two subgroups: 1) those taking AREDS1 formula without beta carotene and 2) those with low levels of lutein and zeaxanthin in their diet. Adding omega-3 fatty acids did not further reduce the progression to advanced AMD.


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