Dispelling Myths About Macular Degeneration Vitamin Supplements


Age-related Macular Degeneration, also known as AMD, is now the leading cause of vision loss throughout the United States. It is estimated that more than 10 million people in the USA alone have the condition, which can start very slowly and progress without detection for years without regular eye exams.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths about AMD and the use of macular degeneration vitamin supplements in the management of the condition. It is important to note that at this time it is not a curable disease, but the use of supplements, diet, and lifestyle changes can be instrumental in slowing or even stopping the progression of the loss of vision.

Myth: All AMD Supplements Are Good

Not all macular degeneration vitamin supplements are created the same. It is important to choose a supplement that uses the AREDS2 formula. This was developed by the National Institutes of Health from the second Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS).

These supplements continue specific amounts of lutein, zeaxanthin, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, zinc oxide and cupric oxide. They do not contain the beta-carotene used in the AREDS1 formula as this was linked to an increased risk of lung cancer in current and past smokers.

Herbal supplements for eye health are not recommended as they are unregulated and do not contain the required dosages of the specific micronutrients required for the health of the macula, which is the central part of the retina.

Myth: Take AMD Supplements for Prevention

There is no research showing that taking macular degeneration vitamin supplements in advance of a diagnosis is effective in preventing a diagnosis. In other words, even with a family history of AMD, proactively taking the AREDS2 formulation of supplements shows no decreased risk of diagnosis.

However, it is possible for individuals with a family history of AMD and other risk factors to change their diet to include healthy foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin. Examples of foods high in these nutrients include corn, kale, broccoli, spinach, egg yolks, grapes, orange and yellow peppers, kiwi fruit and squash varieties such as zucchini and yellow squash.

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