What Vitamins Prevent Macular Degeneration?

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

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  • Maureen
    Posted at 09:04h, 11 November Reply

    thanks for this information! I am rather upset with my optometrist and the RS who told me to keep taking MacuTrition, which does contain Omega 3’s, and costs me $35.99 per month, all for nothing. I do not have advanced wet or dry or even intermediate AMD. I have some MD but I also have a epiretinal fold with a small cyst which is going to have OCT next week. So I can stop spending all that money on something that is essentially useless to me. Thanks!

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 05:41h, 12 November Reply

      I hope I didn’t ruffle any feathers, but I see this too often. Hopefully, with good studies, we may find that these vitamins do indeed prevent macular degeneration.

      We’ll see.

      Thanks for taking time to comment.


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