(Baptiste Health) – Did you know that a daily regimen of dietary supplements can slow the progression of one of the leading causes of vision loss in the elderly?
This is the result of two long-term studies funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a degenerative disease of the retina, the light-sensitive area at the back of the eye. The macular area of the retina normally provides clear central vision. With AMD, the retinal cells in the macula die.
There are no symptoms of early AMD. In later cases, you will see less detail in the center of your vision. You may also see blurry or wavy areas when looking straight ahead.
A successful addition
The new report tracked people who took a combination of antioxidant vitamins and minerals known as AREDS2. It contains:
- Vitamin C.
- Vitamin E.
Overall, participants who took AREDS2 supplements were about 25% less likely to develop advanced AMD over five years. For people who continued for 10 years, there was an additional 20% lower risk of AMD progression.
A safer combination
The AREDS2 supplement is the result of updates to the original AREDS supplements. Researchers replaced beta-carotene with lutein and zeaxanthin in the original combination. Other studies had shown an increased risk of lung cancer in current or former smokers who took beta-carotene.
The version containing lutein and zeaxanthin was safe and helpful.
AREDS2 supplements can help prevent AMD from getting worse. But there is no evidence that taking them can stop the disease before it develops.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), you may be at risk for AMD if you:
- Are 50 years of age or older.
- Eat lots of saturated fats (meats, butter and cheese).
- Are overweight.
- Have high blood pressure (hypertension).
- Have a family history of AMD.
The best advice is clear:
- Consult your ophthalmologist regularly.
- Get early treatment, including vitamin therapy if your doctor recommends it.
You can find out more about ways to protect your vision in our Eye Topic Center.