Vitamins for Vision
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of severe vision loss in people over 65. This condition affects both distance and close vision and can make some activities-like threading a needle or reading-very difficult or impossible. Although the exact causes of AMD are not fully understood, AREDS (the Age-Related Eye Disease Study) shows that antioxidant vitamins and zinc may reduce the impact of AMD in some people with the disease.
The AREDS study found that among people at high risk for late-stage macular degeneration (those with intermediate AMD in both eyes or advanced AMD in one eye), a dietary supplement of vitamins C, E and beta carotene, along with zinc, lowered the risk of the disease progressing to advanced stages by about 25 to 30 percent.
Light may affect the eye by stimulating oxygen, leading to the production of highly reactive and damaging compounds called free radicals. Antioxidant vitamins (such as Vitamins A, C and E) may work against this activated oxygen and help slow the progress of macular degeneration.
Zinc, one of the most common minerals in our body, is very concentrated in the eye, particularly in the retina and macula. Zinc is necessary for the action of over 100 enzymes, including chemical reactions in the retina. Because zinc is important for the health of the macula, supplements of zinc in the diet may slow down the process of macular degeneration.
An ongoing study, AREDS2, is testing additional antioxidants including lutein and zeaxanthin, two natural pigments found in the macula that protect against oxidative stress and absorb potentially damaging blue and ultraviolet light. A number of studies have revealed that AMD patients have significantly lower levels of these pigments than age matched normals.
It is very important to remember that vitamin supplements are not a cure for AMD, nor will they restore vision you may have already lost from the disease. However, specific amounts of certain supplements do play a key role in helping some people at high risk for advanced AMD to maintain their vision. MacuTab is a good solution for anyone who desires to take vitamins for visual function as well, even if you don't have macular degeneration.