Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common eye disease that often develops in your older years. The macula, which is a small spot found in your retina, may deteriorate over time. As it plays an important role in keeping your central vision sharp, you may notice some changes in your eyesight, especially when looking at things in front of you. It may also lead to blindness if left untreated.
AMD currently has no cure. That said, eye care specialists recommend taking some steps to prevent the disease’s progression and stop it from stealing your sight. In particular, you may take nutritional supplements to maintain your vision. But, many are wondering how effective this is–if it is effective at all.
A+ Vision Optometry, your provider of vision therapy and other eye care services, explains how taking nutritional supplements work in stopping AMD advancement.
The Role of Antioxidants
Antioxidants, including vitamins A, C, and E, as well as the micronutrients lutein and zeaxanthin, and the trace element zinc, help protect the macula from age-related changes, particularly from the effects of free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive substances in your body that are created when you breathe, eat and are exposed to smoke and air pollution.
The AREDS Studies
The National Eye Institute performed a large-scale clinical trial named the Age Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) to determine if antioxidant-containing nutritional supplements are helpful in delaying AMD advancement. Your eye doctors explain that around 3,600 individuals who were diagnosed with AMD of different types and stages were given a certain amount of antioxidants.
The results show that participants with early AMD, who took 500 mgs of vitamin C, 400 i.u. Of vitamin E, 15 mgs vitamin A, 80 mgs zinc oxide, and 2 mgs cupric oxide, lowered their risk of developing advanced AMD by 25 to 30%.
While the AREDS trial was ongoing, a second trial, AREDS 2, was performed. Here, beta-carotene was replaced by lutein and zeaxanthin and omega-3 essential fatty acids were added. Those who took this second formula further decreased their risk of having advanced AMD by an additional 10%.
Your vision therapy specialists explain that while the AREDS trials revealed encouraging news about nutritional supplements, it’s not conclusive that everyone with AMD would have the same results. Nonetheless, having a nutritional and balanced diet can surely help maintain your health. We may recommend taking such nutritional supplements as an adjunct management if you have difficulty maintaining this type of diet.
To learn more about AMD and its management, call us at