Top 6 Eye Vitamins and Minerals for Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of irreversible blindness or vision impairment in the world, affecting as many as 11 million people in the United States. This progressive disease is most common in people aged 60 years or older, but can occur at any age. AMD slowly destroys your sharp, central vision, leading to blurred vision and even vision loss.
Learn more about Macular Degeneration from Dr. Fastenberg and Dr. Rosenblatt on the VRC Podcast, Retina in Focus.
Patients suffering from intermediate age-related macular degeneration (AMD) may benefit from specific vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin E, copper (cupric oxide), zinc, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which can help reduce the risk of vision loss from advanced age-related macular degeneration. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of each vitamin and mineral for your eye health.
What are the Benefits of Eye Vitamins and Minerals?
By the year 2050, the CDC anticipates that more than four million Americans will suffer from uncorrectable vision impairments. Certain vitamins and minerals can provide protection against age-related macular degeneration and other eye conditions. Benefits of eye vitamins and minerals include:
- Reduce inflammation
- Produce collagen
- Fight free radicals
- Reduce oxidative stress
- Reduce the risk of vision loss from advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
It’s always best to consult with a doctor or ophthalmologist before taking vitamin or mineral supplements, especially if you are taking other medications.
6 Eye Vitamins & Minerals for Macular Degeneration
Since the eye has a high metabolic rate, it benefits from added antioxidant protection. While your diet should be the primary source of vitamins and minerals for eye health, eye vitamins and minerals can fill in any gaps to protect your vision. When choosing eye vitamins and minerals, look for the USP Label, which evaluates a product’s quality, purity and potency. VRC’s recommend vitamins and minerals to prevent macular degeneration include:
1. Vitamin C
Vitamin C, found in a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, is an antioxidant that may lower your risk of developing cataracts and reduce progression of age-related macular degeneration, when combined with vitamin E, copper, zinc, lutein and zeaxanthin. Vitamin C promotes immunological function by keeping blood vessels open, and promotes blood circulation to the eyes and the rest of the body. The recommended dose of vitamin C for AREDS is 500 milligrams (mg).
2. Vitamin E
Vitamin E, found in nuts, fortified cereals, and greens, is a potent antioxidant that supports a healthy circulatory system, protects your eyes against damaging free radicals, and assists in blood thinning and reducing risk of blood clots. Alpha-tocopherol is the common type of vitamin E used in AREDS trials. Vitamin E doses in AREDS are 400 IU daily.
Copper, found in meats, shellfish, nuts and whole grains, enhances the functioning of antioxidant enzymes in the eye. In addition, copper deficiency is linked to peripheral neuropathy, which is a type of damage to the nervous system that can lead to vision problems. The copper dose for age-related eye disease is 2 milligrams (mg).
Zinc, found in meat, fish and seafood, protects your eyes against macular degeneration and certain types of night blindness. The retinal vascular system and retina metabolic processes depend on zinc, and zinc is essential for maintaining vision. The zinc dosage for AREDS is 80 milligrams (mg).
Zeaxanthin is a carotenoid found in green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, broccoli, peas and lettuce. This powerful antioxidant functions as a light filter, protecting eye tissues from sunlight damage. Zeaxanthin may also delay or prevent the progression of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The zeaxanthin dose for AMD is 2 milligrams (mg).
Lutein is another carotenoid found in green leafy vegetables, such as kale, spinach, and parsley. Like zeaxanthin, lutein functions as a blight light filter in the retina. These two carotenoids are the best replacements in the AREDS formula. The lutein dose for AMD is 10 milligrams (mg).
AHREDS 2 Supplement for Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Taking action to slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration is important for people diagnosed with intermediate age-related macular degeneration. The most common dietary supplement for macular degeneration is AHREDS 2, which can help intermediate age-related macular degeneration from turning into late AMD.
AHREDS 2 includes a specific combination of vitamin C, vitamin E, copper (cupric oxide), zinc, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Clinical trials called the Age-Related Eye Disease Studies (AHREDS) demonstrated that the following amounts were effective at slowing vision loss from AMD:
|Ingredient||Amount in AREDS 2|
|vitamin C||500 milligrams (mg)|
|vitamin E||400 IU (international units)|
|copper (cupric oxide)||2 mg|
The AREDS 2 vitamin supplement can be purchased without a prescription at your local drugstore on online retailers. If you have any additional questions, schedule an appointment at Vitreoretinal Consultants.
Should I See an Opthalmologist Before Taking Eye Vitamins and Minerals?
Yes, you should meet with your physician or ophthalmologist before taking eye supplements. Eye supplements such as AHREDS 2 are for people with intermediate to advanced macular degeneration. If you are experiencing symptoms such as blurry vision, impaired vision, eye pain, or other eye irregularities, schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist right away.
Schedule an Appointment at Vitreoretinal Consultants of New York
The Vitreoretinal Consultants are part of the Retina Consultants of America, a reputable organization that prioritizes eradicating vision impairments. The facility is also part of several clinical and national trials to find treatment for dry AMD. If you are looking for treatment or more information on macular degeneration and other retina diseases, Vitreoretinal Consultants are an ideal resource.