Facts About Macular Degeneration

 

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease that affects the central vision and can be one of two main types: wet and dry. Dry AMD develops first and can progress to either advanced dry AMD or wet AMD. Many studies have shown that smoking, uncontrolled hypertension, and diets high in fat can INCREASE the risk of progression. Several studies have found protective effects of vitamins and dietary changes on the progression of early dry AMD into the more advanced forms. The results of the studies allow us to recommend the following for patients at risk:

 

  • The AREDS study recommends at least the following high-dose antioxidant vitamins daily:
    • Vitamin C: 450 mg
    • Vitamin E: 400 IU
    • Vitamin A (Beta Carotene): 15 mg (28,640 IU)
    • Zinc (Zinc Oxide): 69.6 mg
    • Copper: 1.6 mg

 

Patients in the study often took multivitamins in addition to the above doses. People who have smoked in the last 15 years should NOT take high dose Vitamin A as it may increase the risk of lung cancer.

 

  • Dietary changes including the following:
    • 2 servings of fish and/or nuts a week (Omega-3 fatty acids: 1 serving is about 6 oz.)
    • 3 servings of fruit a day (1 ½ cups fruit or 1 cup berries)
    • 2-5 servings of dark green leafy vegetables a week (Carotenoids e.g. lutein and zeaxanthin: high levels are found in kale, spinach, turnips and collard greens; lower levels are found in squash, lettuce, broccoli)

 

Patients taking Coumadin (Warfarin) should NOT eat dark green leafy vegetables. The results of these studies do not necessarily apply to those with very early dry AMD. At present there is not enough evidence to recommend for or against other vitamins or supplements.

 

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