What Is the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS)?
The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) is a major clinical trial sponsored by the National Eye Institute to:
- Learn more about the history of, and risk factors for, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataract;
- Evaluate the effect of high doses of antioxidants and zinc on the progression of AMD and cataract.
Results from the AREDS trial indicated that five years of supplementation with high doses of antioxidant vitamins, copper, and zinc reduced the risk of developing advanced AMD in 30% of individuals in the study who took the supplements and had already-existing moderate to advanced dry or wet AMD. Macular Degeneration Support provides a follow-up information sheet about the AREDS results and future AREDS clinical trials.
That original AREDS formula included 25 IU of beta carotene (for non-smokers only), 500 mg of Vitamin C, 400 mg of Vitamin E, 80 mg of Zinc (and 2 mg of Copper to avoid anemia with high zinc intake).
The second AREDS trial was launched to discover whether lutein, zeaxanthin (the anti-oxidants found in dark green leafy vegetables) and omega-3 fatty acids would further reduce the rate of progress of AMD. That trial ended in May, 2013, and found sufficient evidence to eliminate beta carotene for everyone and add lutein and zeaxanthin. Insufficient evidence was found to include Omega-3 fatty acids, however, so they will not be part of the new AREDS recommended formula.
Talk with your ophthalmologist or optometrist to learn if you could benefit from taking the AREDS vitamins.