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Dietary Supplements

The Role of Dietary Supplements in the Treatment of AMD

A 10-year National Eye Institute sponsored study, AREDS (Age Related Eye Disease Study), released in 2001, has shown that a specific formulation of antioxidant vitamins and zinc may reduce the impact of AMD. AREDS showed that for people with intermediate or advanced AMD, the risk of vision loss was reduced by 25% when treated with a high dose formulation of vitamins A, C, and E, beta carotene, and zinc.

The specific amounts of antioxidants and minerals used in AREDS  are available in a vitamin tablet known as “Preservision AREDS Soft Gels,” produced by Bausch & Lomb.

Recommended by Eyesight and available over-the-counter, the dose of Preservision AREDS 2 Soft Gels is one soft gel at breakfast and one at supper.

Because alternative formulations of antioxidants and minerals were not tested in AREDS , the efficacy of such preparations has not been tested by the National Eye Institute. The only exception to this is our recommendation for smokers (including those who have quit smoking in the past five years.) Since it has been shown that the supplemental use of beta-carotene in smokers increases their risk of lung cancer, we recommend the use of “Preservision Lutein Soft Gels” by Bausch & Lomb. This formulation contains no beta-carotene.

Even though there are no conclusive statements that can be made regarding the additional use of lutein in the diet of patients with macular degeneration, some studies have suggested a link between lutein and decreased risk of eye disease.

Our recommended dose of lutein is 8mg of lutein per day, taken at lunchtime.

The rationale for taking lutein at lunch is to avoid competitive absorption between lutein and components of Preservision AREDS. If you are a smoker taking Preservision Lutein, you need not take supplemental lutein. Both Preservision AREDS and Preservision Lutein are available without a prescription, over-the-counter at local drug stores, supermarkets, and health food stores. You may hear or read of other herbal or vitamin supplements for ocular health. We advise avoidance of these, as there is very little good science which proves they are useful, and in fact, there are known, dangerously serious, and sometimes irreversible ocular complications from the use and/or abuse of these supplements.

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