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Prevention of AMD

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) is due to announce the results of a nationwide study during 2013. The study aimed to determine if a modified combination of vitamins, minerals, and fish oil can slow the progression of vision loss from AMD, the leading cause of vision loss in the United States for people over age 60.

This study, called the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2), builds upon results from an earlier Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS).

The original study found that high-dose antioxidant vitamins and minerals (vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, zinc, and copper), taken by mouth, reduced the risk of progression to advanced AMD by 25 percent, and the risk of moderate vision loss by 19 percent. AREDS2 will refine the findings of the original study by adding lutein and zeaxanthin (plant-derived yellow pigments that accumulate in the macula, the small area responsible for central vision near the centre of the retina) and the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA (derived from fish oils) to the study formulation. The main study objective is to determine if these nutrients will decrease a person's risk of progression to advanced AMD, which often leads to vision loss. Previous observational studies have suggested these nutrients may protect vision.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are found naturally in foods such as eggs, kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, broccoli, sweet corn, garden peas and Brussels sprouts. To maximise the availability of the carotenoids the foods should be eaten raw or lightly steamed. However nutritional supplements will provide higher doses more readily.

Some optometrists also recommend using yellow tinted ‘gaming’ sunglasses when using a computer for extended periods of time.