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Author Topic: Age-related Macular Degeneration Disease  (Read 5611 times)

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Age-related Macular Degeneration Disease
« on: December 05, 2018, 01:32:57 AM »

The clinical trial called the Age-Related Eye Disease Study sponsored by the National Eye Institute found that high levels of antioxidants and zinc significantly reduce the risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration. Advanced age-related macular degeneration is a leading cause of vision loss. The study involved 4,757 participants, 55-80 years of age in 11 clinical centers nationwide.

People at high risk of developing advanced stages of AMD received a high-dose combination of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and zinc.

It was an exciting discovery for people at high risk for developing advanced AMD. These nutrients are the first discovered for effective treatment to slow the progression of the disease. Treatment for advanced age-related macular degeneration is very limited.

The nutrients studied delay the progression to “advanced” age-related macular degeneration in people who are at high risk, those with intermediate AMD in one or both eyes, or those with advanced AMD in one eye already. AMD is a leading cause of vision loss and blindness in Americans 65 years of age and older.

The nutrients will not cure AMD or restore vision already lost from the disease. They will play an important role in helping people at high risk to not develop “advanced” AMD and keep their vision.

Drusen is a common feature of age-related macular degeneration. Drusen are yellow deposits under the retina found often in people over age 60. A lot of people will have drusen during an eye exam in which the pupils are dilated. Drusen alone does not cause vision loss. It is the increase in the drusen size and/or number that increases a person’s risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration. Age-related macular degeneration can cause serious vision loss.

Studies previously suggested people who have diets rich in green, leafy vegetables have a lower risk of developing age-related macular degeneration. The high levels of nutrients that were evaluated in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study are extremely difficult to achieve from diet alone. There was also a cataract portion of the study in which researchers found that the same nutrients had no significant effect on the development or progression of age-related cataract.

Taking large doses of antioxidant vitamins or zinc may not be appropriate for all people with intermediate age-related macular degeneration disease because of medical reasons. For example, if you are a smoker, beta-carotene has been shown to increase the risk of lung cancer. These groups of people will need to discuss with their primary care doctor the best combination of nutrients for them. It is also necessary to add appropriate amounts of copper to the diet when using high levels of zinc to prevent copper deficiency.

The participants reported minor side effects from the treatments which included:

• Urinary tract problems that required hospitalization

• Anemia at a slightly higher rate, however, testing of all patients for anemia showed no difference among treatment groups.

• Yellowing of the skin is a well-known side effect of large doses of beta-carotene; this was reported slightly more often by participants taking antioxidants.

The AREDS study is the first to demonstrate an adequate treatment for people at high risk for developing advanced age-related macular degeneration disease. The formula will help to save the vision of many who otherwise would have serious vision loss.

Source: The National Eye Institute, which is part of the National Institutes of Health and is the Federal government’s lead agency for vision research.


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