Are vitamins helpful for age-related macular degeneration (AMD)?
The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) showed that taking high-dose anti-oxidant vitamins and zinc significantly slowed the rate of progression of vision loss in patients who had more advanced forms of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).
What vitamins should I take?
The following vitamin combination was proven effective in the AREDS study:
- Vitamin C, 500 mg
- Vitamin E, 400 IU
- Lutein, 10 mg
- Zeaxanthin, 2 mg
- Zinc, as zinc oxide, 25 or 80 mg
- Copper, as cupric oxide, 2 mg
- Will Vitamins Make My Vision Better?
- Vitamin therapy for AMD will help slow the progression of AMD. Vitamins are not a cure for AMD and will not give back any vision that has already been lost.
Should everyone with AMD be taking high-dose vitamins?
Only those patients with intermediate to advanced forms of AMD should be taking the high-dose multivitamin formula. Ask your doctor if you should be taking this vitamin supplement.
Is it safe to take high doses of vitamin E?
AREDS researchers say it is unclear if the possible increased risk associated with very high doses – 500IU to 2000IU – of vitamin E applies to people taking 400IU. An increased risk of mortality was not found among those taking about 400IU of vitamin E.
The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements has a fact sheet on vitamin E that summarizes the research on vitamin E and different chronic diseases.
If I don’t have AMD, will high-dose vitamins prevent me from developing it?
We do not believe that people who do not have AMD should supplement with the high dose vitamin formula in the hopes of preventing AMD from developing.
Where can I get the AREDS vitamins for AMD?
The AREDS vitamin formula is available over the counter without a prescription in most pharmacies, retailers, and grocery stores. Common brand names include Ocuvite Preservision and Alcon AREDS I-CAPS.
Can I take my regular daily vitamins in addition to the AREDS AMD formula?
Most patients in the AREDS study continued to take their regular multivitamins in addition to the AREDS formula. We recommend that you check with your family medical doctor or internist to be sure that it is OK for you to continue to take all of these vitamins.
Are there any concerns about taking the AREDS vitamins?
There is some evidence that high doses of vitamin A found in the original AREDS formula may be detrimental to smokers. Versions of these supplements now offered as the AREDS2 formula have omitted this vitamin and can be taken. Of course, quitting smoking is not only beneficial to your health overall, but likely reduces the risk of worsening AMD on its own.