Once again the effect of nutrition on eye disease is brought into question, this time in the NY Times.
A few years back, a big clinical trial showed that certain nutritional supplements could slow the progression of macular degeneration and reduce the risk of vision loss. The trial showed that one thing they could do was to take a specific formula of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Manufacturers quickly responded with a host of over-the-counter pills making a host of claims.
The clinical trial called AREDS (Age-Related Eye Disease Study), conducted at 11 medical centers around the country by the National Eye Institute, found that a supplement could reduce the risk of worsening macular degeneration and severe vision loss by 25 percent over six years.“But the benefits of the nutrients only apply to certain stages of the disease,” Dr. Scott pointed out. “The formula could slow the progression in patients with either intermediate age-related macular degeneration or with advanced macular degeneration in only one eye.”
It didn’t work for people with milder forms of the disease, or with advanced age-related macular degeneration in both eyes. It didn’t prevent people from getting the disease in the first place. It didn’t cure anybody. But it was the best doctors could offer most patients with macular degeneration, apart from lifestyle modifications like stopping smoking.
So only people with intermediate or advanced stage macular degeneration should take eye supplements.
The AREDS Formula:
– 500 mg vitamin C
– 400 IU’s vitamin E
– 15 mg beta-carotene (for smokers) OR Lutein/Zeaxanthin
– 80 mg zinc as zinc oxide
– 2 mg copper as cupric acid
For more info: