It is common knowledge that a nutrient-rich diet and exercise contribute to greater overall health. Recently, however, a study of more than 3,000 people was published with evidence that certain nutrients and supplements greatly reduce the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and enhance AMD treatment.
Titled the “Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS),” the researchers conducted clinical trials examining the effects of antioxidants and zinc on patients at high risk for developing advanced stages of AMD. The antioxidant vitamins included Vitamins C, E and beta-carotene, with zinc and copper added to the formula. Twenty-five percent of patients who were at high risk of developing category three or four advanced AMD reduced their risk. When compared against a placebo, the AREDS formula also reduced the loss of visual acuity in these two categories. There was no significant response from patients in category 2.
Upon further review of other published studies, the AREDS researchers found significant evidence that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, lutein and zeaxanthin also contributed to reduced risk of developing or advancing AMD. The study concluded that while there was no significant improvement for patients with early-stage AMD, the findings for patients with advanced stages or a predisposition to advanced stages benefited greatly from the nutrient formula as well as from a dietary increase in omega-3 fatty acids and nutrients found in the macula, lutein and zeaxanthin.
Due to the anticipated influx of patients with various stages of AMD due to the aging population, research such as the AREDS and other studies determining the efficacy of xeaxanthin and lutein on early stages of AMD may affect the number of people who are prone to suffer vision loss.
With Optos’ ultra-widefield retinal imaging included as part of a comprehensive eye exam and encouragement to increase the required nutrients, AMD treatment can be far more successful and result in fewer cases of blindness.