11 Nov What Vitamins Prevent Macular Degeneration?
We’ve talked about this many times. Most people with macular degeneration do not need to be taking vitamins for macular degeneration. Whether the vitamins contain β-carotene, zeaxanthin or lutein, most people just don’t need to be taking them.
There is lots of anecdotal evidence that certain elements, such as β-carotene, zeaxanthin and lutein may be helpful, and indeed these specific questions are under study. Read more about AREDS 1 and AREDS 2. According to the AREDS1 study, very few people need to be taking these supplements.
Who DOES Need Vitamins? The only group of patients that “require” vitamins are those with “high or intermediate risk” wet macular degeneration.
- Intermediate Risk – patients with either “intermediate” macaular degeneration in either eye.
- High Risk – patients with advanced dry (geographic atrophy) or known “wet” macular degeneration in either eye.
Which Vitamins? The only vitamins “proven” to be effective are the vitamins containing the “AREDS Formulation.” It is usually printed on the side of the bottle. The AREDS formula contains; Vitamins C and E, Beta-carotene, zinc and copper. Examples of vitamins include; Preservision® (Bausch and Lomb) and ICAPS® (Alcon).
What Will the Vitamins Do? The vitamins will reduce the chance of the “wet” form developing in either eye. For example, if a patient has the “wet” form in the right eye, the vitamins reduce the risk of developing the “wet” form in the other eye by 25%.
What does this mean? This emphasizes the need for a regular eye examination. Only your doctor can tell you if you have intermediate or high risk characteristics.
There are too many people randomly taking vitamins for the “eyes.” It is important that you know the basis for which vitamins are suggested for you.
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Ophthalmologist, Retina Specialist