Aug 23

Vitamins and Age Related Eye Disease

AMD, cause of blindness, AREDS formulas

by Elisabeth Parisi

Paula C. Ko, M.D., retina specialist at Eye Physicians and Surgeons, authored an article in the current edition of the New Castle County Women's Journal, which is a bi-monthly publication that serves as a resource for the women of New Castle County.  The article is about Vitamins and AMD - Age Related Eye Disease Study 2 - (AREDS2) Results.

In her article, Dr. Ko identifies the leading cause of blindness in America as AMD - Age-related Macular Degeneration.  America's population is made up of so many people over age 60, which is when macular degeneration can begin.  There are certain vitamins that decrease the progression of AMD and in 2001 the results of a study sponsored by the National Institute of Health was first published.  This study demonstrated that progression of AMD from moderate to severe was decreased by 25% with use of a vitamin formula known as AREDS.  This decrease in progression is true for the dry form as well as the wet form of AMD.  The original formula for AREDS (Age Related Eye Disease Study) includes Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc and Cupric Oxide.

Due to the age of those that develop AMD, there are other health concerns for Dr. Ko and her colleagues to be mindful of in their patients. For example, the formula above would not be used for smokers, or for men with benign prostatic enlargement, or for those who have osteoporosis.  High doses of certain vitamins put those individuals at risk.  Therefore, another formula has been developed called AREDS2. It is considered safer, but works just as well as the original formula.  AREDS2 includes lutein, zeaxanthin, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc, and Cupric Oxide.

In her article, Dr. Ko notes other recommendations for patients with AMD such as a diet that includes green leafy vegetables daily and fish 2-3 times a week.  It is also recommended to maintain good control of blood pressure and cholesterol, and finally to protect the eyes from UV light.  These recommendations would be a healthy life style for any of us!

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