There are many studies being done to look at whether certain vitamin and mineral supplements and combinations of supplements may help prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or delay vision loss in people who already have it.
For example, the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) and AREDS2 were two major research studies done by the U.S. National Eye Institute. AREDS2 found that supplementing your diet with high levels of vitamins C, E, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which are all antioxidants, and the minerals zinc and copper may help slow the progress of advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and delay vision loss if you already have moderate or severe AMD. There is no evidence that the supplements are helpful if you do not have AMD or only have a mild form of the disease.footnote 1
In a study of male doctors who didn't have AMD, researchers found that taking vitamins E and C for up to 8 years, either alone or in combination, was not likely to affect whether or not a person got early AMD. This finding is consistent with other studies that looked at preventing AMD by using vitamins.footnote 2
If you're interested in taking a vitamin or mineral supplement, talk with your doctor about the risks. For example:
American Academy of Ophthalmology Retina/Vitreous Panel (2015). Age-related macular degeneration. Preferred Practice Pattern Guidelines. San Francisco: American Academy of Ophthalmology. http://www.aao.org/preferred-practice-pattern/age-related-macular-degeneration-ppp-2015. Accessed April 30, 2015.
Christen WG, et al. (2012). Vitamins E and C and medical record-confirmed age-related macular degeneration in a randomized trial of male physicians. Ophthalmology, 119(8): 1642–1649.
Other Works Consulted
Drugs for some common eye disorders (2012). Treatment Guidelines From The Medical Letter, 10(123): 79–86.
Current as of: May 5, 2019
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Kathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineChristopher J. Rudnisky MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology
Current as of:
May 5, 2019
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Christopher J. Rudnisky MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology
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