Tags: macular degeneration | eye | disease | AREDS 1

Supplements That Can Save Your Sight

By    |   Tuesday, 13 January 2015 04:56 PM


Mom always said to eat carrots because they will give you better eyesight. But she was only partially correct.
 
“One misconception is that vitamins will make your vision better, but they won’t,” says Brett Levinson, M.D., a board-certified ophthalmologist and eye surgeon in Baltimore. “However, several recent studies show that vitamins and minerals can be crucial in preventing certain eye conditions.”
 
The most common cause of blindness in people over 50 is age-related macular degeneration. Major studies have uncovered two vitamin/mineral formulations that slow the rate of progression of this eye disease. One of them is recommended for former or current smokers.
 
A study conducted by the National Eye Institute found that a combination of beta-carotene (vitamin A), vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, and copper is effective against macular degeneration.
 
The landmark research is known as the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 1 or AREDS 1.
 
If you have a family risk for macular degeneration you should consider taking a supplement specifically formulated to fight the condition, advises, Dr. Levinson. Look for brands labeled “AREDS 1” or “AREDS.”
 
“They are formulated to match the vitamins and doses in that study,” explains Dr. Levinson. You can find these at most drugstores and mass merchandisers. Examples include Bausch & Lomb’s PreserVision Eye Vitamin & Mineral Supplement ($22) and ICaps Eye Vitamin AREDS Formula ($19.99).
 
Five years after AREDS 1, the National Eye Institute conducted a second study called the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 or AREDS 2. Researchers added lutein, an antioxidant, in the place of beta-carotene because two large National Cancer Institute studies found that too much beta-carotene in former or current smokers increases the risk of lung cancer. They also added the antioxidant zeaxanthin.
 
AREDS 2 formulations are recommended for former or current smokers because they don’t contain beta-carotene. Examples include Bausch & Lomb’s PreserVision Eye Vitamin & Mineral Supplement AREDS 2 Formula ($29) and VisiVite AREDS 2 Plus+ ($29).
 
Help for Dry Eyes
 
Another common eye condition associated with aging is dry eyes. “It is the most common vision complaint for people over the age of 50,” says Dr. Levinson. “It’s also very common in women over the age of 45 going through menopause and is the number one problem that brings people to my office.”
 
Symptoms include blurriness when reading and a gritty feeling in the eyes.
 
Omega-3 fatty acid supplements in the form of fish oil can help, says Dr. Levinson The fatty acid known as DHA “is needed for the integrity of the retinal cells, and has been shown to promote retinal development and repair in prior studies,” according to the National Eye Institute.
 
Dr. Levinson recommends an omega-3 supplement for everybody, whether or not they have a problem with dry eyes.
 
“Omega 3 helps the whole body by lowering your risk of high cholesterol, stroke, and arthritis, among other things,” he tells Newsmax Health. “When it comes to the eyes, omega-3 can help improve the tear film quality. With all these benefits, everyone should take it.”
 
Start with 2,000 mg a day, taking one 1,000 mg pill with lunch and another with dinner. If that doesn’t help after a few months, work your way up to 4,000 mg a day. Take omega-3 supplements with food that has some fat in it, like avocados, chicken, or meat because the body processes omega-3 better if it’s eaten with fat.
 
“If you’re not taking it with a meal, the body can’t fully absorb it,” explains Dr. Levinson. “The majority of my patients who take fish oil and don’t feel better are not taking enough, not taking it with a meal, or they’re taking the wrong form.”
 
Take omega-3 from a fish source, not a plant source (it should say this on the label.) Opt for one that is just omega-3, not a supplement that has omega 6 or 9 as well. One high-quality fish oil supplement is Nordic Naturals ($44).
 
The full version of this article appeared in Health Radar newsletter. To read more, click here.
 

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Mom always said to eat carrots because they will give you better eyesight. But she was only partially correct. "One misconception is that vitamins will make your vision better, but they won't," says Brett Levinson, M.D., a board-certified ophthalmologist and eye surgeon in...
macular degeneration, eye, disease, AREDS 1
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2015-56-13
Tuesday, 13 January 2015 04:56 PM
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