Frequently asked Questions about Vitamins and Macular Degeneration

March 11th, 2014 by Carolina Eye Associates

Carolina Eye Associates, Arghavan Almony, MD

Diabetic Eye, Retina, and Vitreous Specialist

 Frequently asked Questions about Vitamins and Macular Degeneration

 Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common eye condition that affects the macula or central vision.  Central vision is important in activities such as reading and driving.  In recent years, attention has focused on nutrition and supplements as a way to prevent or reduce vision loss from AMD.

Why Should I Take Vitamins If I Have AMD?

In 2001, a landmark study of the National Eye Institute (Age-Related Eye Disease Study or AREDS) showed the benefits of specific supplemental vitamins and minerals for those with AMD by reducing the risk of developing advanced AMD by 25%. This formulation of vitamins and minerals is a higher concentration than what can be obtained through diet alone or with a multivitamin.

What Are The Best Vitamins If I Have AMD?

There are countless brands and formulations of vitamins for AMD.  Some of these are better than others.  Speak with your eye doctor to make sure your vitamin choice includes the necessary supplements to offer the best protection possible for your eyes.

Can I Take These Vitamins If I Don’t Have Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

The benefits of vitamin supplementation have only been studied in individuals with early macular degeneration.

Does Omega-3 Help with Macular Degeneration?

While Omega-3 may have other benefits, it has not been shown to reduce the risk of AMD.

Can I Take These Vitamins If I Smoke?

Vitamin A, an important component of the AREDS formulation in reducing the risk of vision loss from AMD, has been shown to increase the risk of lung cancer in individuals with a recent or distant history of smoking.  The original AREDS formulation had one formulation for non-smokers and a separate formulation without vitamin A for individuals with a smoking history.  In 2013, the National Institutes of Health released the results of the AREDS 2 study in which Vitamin A was replaced with Lutein and Zeaxanthin.  Lutein and Zeaxanthin are effective in reducing the risk of AMD.  The AREDS 2 formulation of vitamins and minerals can be taken by smokers and non-smokers.

If you would like more information on macular degeneration or other eye diseases visit or 910-295-2100.

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