What’s this about AREDS?

June 29th, 2015 by Carolina Eye Associates

What’s this about AREDS?

The Age Related Eye Disease Study or AREDS is one of the landmark studies in eye care.

This study evaluated the usefulness of vitamins decreasing risk of either age related macular

degeneration (ARMD) and cataracts.

Cataracts are the clouding of the human lens. Age related macular degeneration is a disease

that causes decrease of the center part of the vision by causing a deterioration in the macula

which is the center part of the retina. If you think of the eye as a camera, then the lens would

focus light and images on the retina just like a lens of a camera would focus light and images on

the film. To see well you need a clear, focused lens and a normal retina.

Before AREDS, small studies indicated that several vitamins and minerals may help to decrease

the risk of ARMD and cataracts. These vitamins included zinc, beta-carotene, vitamin c and

vitamin E. The conclusion of these small studies was that a large clinical trial should be

performed. The AREDS study was started in 1992 and ended in 1998 by the National Eye

Institute at the National Institute of Health. It was designed to determine if daily vitamins

decreased the risk of ARMD and cataracts. The amount of information from this study has

changed the way ophthalmology views vitamin therapies.

Over 4500 participants were followed for years. Some of the participants were given

supplements of zinc (80 mg), beta-carotene (15 mg), vitamin E (400 mg)and vitamin C (500 mg)

and copper (2 mg). This is known as the AREDS formula. In 2001, the investigators reported

that the AREDS formulation reduced the risk of advanced AMD by about 25 percent over a five year

period. Those that benefited the most were patients with intermediate or advanced ARMD.

Now it is common to recommend AREDS formula for intermediate or advanced ARMD.

For more information on eye diseases visit www.carolinaeye.com

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