06 Sep Who Needs Eye Vitamins | AREDS and AREDS2
There is only one eye vitamin proven to be effective for any eye disease. The AREDS 2 formulation for macular degeneration is the only vitamin proven to reduce the chance of severe vision loss in select patients with macular degeneration.
The initial study, funded by the National Eye Institute, was the “Age Related Eye Disease Study” (AREDS) and was to determine the effects of antioxidants and other minerals (principally zinc) on the development and progression of macular degeneration and cataracts.
The initial NIH study found the following:
- Antioxidants and zinc had no effect on the development or progression of cataracts.
- Antioxidants and zinc reduced the chance of vision loss in a select group of patients with macular degeneration.
- Beta-carotene (an antioxidant) increased the chance of lung cancer in smokers.
A second study, Age Related Eye Disease Study 2, also conducted by the National Eye Institute (NEI), was designed to determine:
- if beta-carotene could be replaced with the antioxidants lutein (anti-oxidant) and zeaxanthin (carotenoid)
- if the addition of omega-3 fatty acids affected the development and progression of macular degeneration
- the value of zinc in the development and progression of macular degeneration.
AREDS 2 Conclusions
Essentially, the AREDS 2 study confirmed the positive conclusions of the first study, and that:
- Omega-3 fatty acids had no effect on the development or progression of macular degeneration.
- Removal of beta-carotene did not negatively affect the progression of macular degeneration.
- Lutein and zeaxanthin may serve as an adequate substitute for beta-carotene and did not show evidence of promoting lung cancer in smokers.
Do You Need Any Vitamins?
It should be stressed that most patients do NOT need to be taking vitamins.
Only patients who have been diagnosed with macular degeneration AND who also have select risk factors should be advised to take the AREDS 2 formulation. Specifically, if your doctor determines that you have intermediate or advanced risk factors based upon a dilated eye examination, then you may consider taking the AREDS 2 formulation for macular degeneration.
Risk factors determining the severity of the disease include
What Can You Expect?
The AREDS 2 are NOT going to improve your vision. The AREDS 2 will decrease the chance of severe vision loss by about 25% given the fact the you have higher than normal risk factors for the progression of the disease.