Kellogg retina specialists provide recommendations on supplements for patients with age-related macular degeneration
from the U-M Kellogg Eye Center
The National Eye Institute (NEI) recently published the results of the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) clinical trial, which was a follow-up to the original AREDS study. The first AREDS study found a 25% reduction in the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) over a five-year period in individuals with intermediate AMD, or advanced AMD in one eye, who take a specific formulation of antioxidant vitamins and minerals.
AREDS2 attempted to improve upon the original formulation and found that individuals taking the original AREDS formula with lutein and zeaxanthin but without beta-carotene (vitamin A) may have a slight reduction in the risk of developing advanced AMD. In addition, the formulation without beta carotene may have a lower risk of developing lung cancer in former smokers.
Although the data from the AREDS 2 clinical trial was not strongly conclusive, it provided enough evidence for us to suggest the following formulation if you have intermediate AMD or advanced AMD in one eye:
500 milligrams (mg) vitamin C
400 international units (IU) vitamin E
25 to 80 mg zinc oxide (zinc)
2 mg copper oxide (copper)
10 mg lutein
2 mg zeaxanthin
We do not recommend products containing omega 3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) as they provided no added benefit. Clinical researchers have not studied any other ingredients well enough for us to give recommendations for or against their use.
There is no scientific evidence to suggest that the recommended formulation is beneficial in preventing the development of AMD in those without AMD or slowing progression in those with mild AMD.
The nutrients can be consumed individually or through a combination of commercially available products. Many products do not have the exact doses as our recommendation; however, most are within 20% of the recommendations and probably fine.
Although these ingredients are available without a prescription, please consult your eye care professional before starting this treatment.
About the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2)
- Lutein + zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids for age-related macular degeneration: the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) randomized clinical trial. Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 Research Group. JAMA. 2013 May 15;309(19):2005-15.