Vitamins and Supplements

In addition to healthy eating, certain vitamins and supplements have been shown to slow down the progress of vision loss from AMD.

  • The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) is an ongoing project sponsored by the National Eye Institute, one of the federal government’s National Institutes of Health. AREDS was designed to learn more about the natural history and risk factors for certain eye diseases.  Researchers studied the effects of high doses of vitamins and supplements on the progression of AMD and cataract.  The results, first published in 2001, showed that high levels of antioxidants and zinc significantly reduced the risk of vision loss due to advanced AMD.     

AREDS Formulation
500 mg Vitamin C
400 IU Vitamin E
15 mg Beta carotene
80 mg Zinc
2 mg Copper

  • The AREDS formula will not prevent AMD, and was not effective in people with early AMD. But for those with intermediate AMD, it slowed the progression by 25% and slowed the vision loss by 19% compared to those who were not taking these supplements. 
  • In a subsequent clinical trial, researchers reduced the amount of zinc, eliminated beta carotene and added lutein, zeaxanthin and omega-3.  As a result of this five-year study, published in 2013, the National Eye Institute proposed the AREDS 2 formula.

AREDS 2 Formulation
500 mg Vitamin C
400 IU Vitamin E
80 mg Zinc
2 mg Copper
10 mg Lutein
2 mg Zeaxanthin

  • If you have intermediate AMD, your eye doctor may recommend that you take a supplement based on AREDS or AREDS 2.  Your doctor will decide which formulation is best for you, based on your diet, medical history, or other supplements you may be taking.

 

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