AGE RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION
Age Related Macular Degeneration [AMD]
Main risk factors for progression / worsening of AMD
High blood pressure
Being overweight or obese
High intake of animal / vegetable fat
Having a family history of AMD
Things that you can do which may help
Stop smoking - reduces risk of later ARMD 30%
Eat a balanced diet - include green vegetables / fruit and fish (omega 3) and try to reduce your intake of animal and vegetable fats.
Watch your weight
Maintain your blood pressure
Dietary supplementation - see below and your pharmacist
Vitamins and Trace elements
The AREDS 1 and 2 [Age Related Eye Disease Study] studies suggest that certain persons with AMD may benefit from dietary supplementation.
AREDS have shown that dietary supplementation can reduce the risk of developing advanced AMD and visual loss by about 20% at 6 years in persons older than 55 years with; extensive intermediate size drusen, at least 1 large drusen, non-central geographic atrophy in 1 or both eyes, or advanced AMD or vision loss due to AMD in 1 eye – your ophthalmologist will tell you whether you meet these criteria.
The supplements used in the initial AREDS 1 study were associated with an increased risk of lung cancer in smokers or former smokers. AREDS 2 showed that this risk was attributed to beta-carotene. The AREDS 2 formulations containing lutein + xeaxanthin and NO beta-carotene are equally effective, and have NOT been shown to be associated with an increased risk of lung cancer. Please note however, that zinc supplements maybe associated with a higher risk of urinary tract problems.
AREDS 2 formulation supplements are available and contain:
500mg vitamin C, 400iu vitamin E, 10mg lutein, 2mg zeaxanthin, 80mg zinc, 2mg copper
Lutein / Xeaxanthin (see AREDS above)
AREDS 2 suggested that lutein + xeaxanthin supplements reduce the risk of developing AMD and improve visual function and unlike beta-carotene are not associated with an increased risk of lung cancer in smokers or former smokers.
Omega-3 fatty acids
There is some evidence to suggest that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of developing exudative (wet) AMD but this was not supported by AREDS 2.
Please note that this information is provided to help you to make your own decision as to whether or not you wish to take any dietary supplements.
The author has no proprietary interest in any ocular supplement