Dr. Jim Martin 02/25/2016

vitamins-supplements-pills.pngThe Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) established that taking large quantities of zinc and antioxidants may lower the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by approximately 25%. Sponsored by the federal government's National Eye Institute, around 3,600 participants with varying stages of AMD took part in the clinic trial. The AREDS formulation doesn't cure macular degeneration, but it can contribute directly in helping people who are at a high risk of developing advanced AMDmaintain their remaining vision.

Who Should Take The AREDS Formulation?

The AREDS formulation is recommended for individuals who are highly susceptible to advanced macular degeneration. An eye care professional will determine if you have macular degeneration, and if so, if you're at risk for onset of an advanced form.

Can I Take A Daily Multivitamin If I'm Taking The AREDS Formulation?

It's OK to take a daily multivitamin alongside the AREDS formulation. A daily multivitamin includes a number of key nutrients that aren't found in the AREDS formulation. For example, if you're elderly and have osteoporosis, you should take your daily multivitamin alongside the AREDS formulation for the vitamin D. Keep in mind that as the AREDS formulation doesn't contain all of the nutrients found in a multivitamin, it isn't intended to be used as a substitute. If you're already taking a multivitamin, you may still benefit from the AREDS formulation because the zinc and antioxidant levels are significantly higher. If you're already taking a multivitamin, review your vitamin regimen with your doctor before starting the AREDS formulation.

Does The AREDS Formulation Have Any Side Effects?

In the National Eye Institute study, around 7.5% of the participants who received zinc treatments developed urinary tract problems that resulted in hospitalization. In comparison, 5% of the participants who didn't receive zinc had the same urinary tract issues.

The participant group that took antioxidants had a slightly higher incidence of skin yellowing than the other groups. Yellowing of the skin is a long established side effect of taking large quantities of beta-carotene. The AREDS II formulation does not contain beta-carotene for those who must avoid this ingredient.  Talk to your doctor to see which formulation of the AREDS is best for you.

At this time, the sole established benefit of the AREDS formulation is preventing the development of advanced AMD in individuals who are at a high risk for the condition. The AREDS formulation cannot prevent the development of the condition altogether, nor can it prevent people from developing early signs of it.

Broome Optical is here to help you learn more about the AREDS formulation and whether or not it's a good fit for you. Schedule a consultation today.

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