Macular degeneration is an incurable eye disease caused by deterioration in the central portion of the retina. It is the leading cause of vision loss, affecting more than 100 million Americans. If you have been diagnosed with macular degeneration, or believe that you might be at risk for developing the condition, there are some things you can do to slow progression.
At this point, we don’t know exactly what causes macular degeneration, but we do know that age, genetics, smoking and lifestyle all play a role. With this in mind, eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is one of the ways to protect against macular degeneration.
Note that this information is not meant to take the place of formal medical advice. Please schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist doctor before starting any new supplements or vitamins.
The AREDS2 Formula
Probably the best combination of vitamins and supplements to take fall under the AREDS2 formula. Sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), this combination of vitamins and minerals reduces the progression of certain types of macular degeneration by 25 percent.
This formula includes:
- Lutein 10 mg
- Zeaxanthin 2mg
- Vitamin C 500 mg
- Vitamin E 400IU
- Zinc oxide 80mg or 25mg
- Cupric oxide 2mg
The AREDS1 Formula
The AREDS1 formula is another combination you can try. Instead of lutein and zeaxanthin, it contains beta carotene. The problem with beta carotene is that it may cause cancer in smokers and former smokers. This is why many eye doctors now recommend the AREDS2 formula.
Tips When Shopping for Supplements
To ensure you are being a smart consumer, here are some tips to follow when shopping for supplements for macular degeneration:
- You can take other vitamins. If you are taking an AREDS2 formula, you can take a multivitamin as well. Studies show these vitamins do not affect the risk for AMD progression one way or another.
- Not all formulas are the same. Be aware that not all AREDS formulas are the same. This happens because the supplement industry isn’t as well regulated as the prescription drug industry. Make sure you’re getting the right levels of each vitamin.
- Talk to your eye doctor. If you’re not sure which formula is right for you, talk to your eye specialist about the brands that meet the AREDS2 formulation.
- Take as directed. Most supplements can be purchased over the counter from a drug store or supermarket. You generally take one softgel twice a day with a meal.
- Eat balanced. Don’t forget to get your vitamins and nutrients from the foods you eat as well. Focus on a diet high in lutein and zeaxanthin such as egg yolks, orange and yellow peppers, kale, broccoli, spinach, kiwi, grapes, zucchini and squash.
If you have macular degeneration or believe you may have it, contact Empire Retina Consultants for an appointment.