March 9, 2015
Supplements marketed for eye health are often lacking ingredients with supportive scientific evidence of benefit. Deficiencies in antioxidants have been noted in some people with age-related vision loss. Antioxidants may protect against age-related vision loss by preventing free radicals or unstable oxygen from damaging the retina. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) was a major clinical trial sponsored by the National Eye Institute. Results were published in 2001. AREDS researchers recommended that patients at risk of developing advanced age-related vision loss should consider taking antioxidant and zinc supplements. The AREDS formulation is specific and different from a regular daily multivitamin. The original AREDS formula contains 15 mg beta-carotene, 500 mg vitamin C, 400 IU Vitamin E, 80 mg zinc, and 2 mg copper. The same research group completed a second study on eye health in 2006 (AREDS2), and provided an updated formulation of 500 mg vitamin C, 400 IU vitamin E, 10 mg lutein, 2 mg zeaxanthin, 80 mg zinc, and 2 mg copper. The authors concluded that the majority of the top-selling eye health supplement brands do not contain ingredient formulas similar to the AREDS or AREDS2 recommendations, despite product label claims that suggest they are beneficial for vision and eye health.
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Diane Silverman R.Ph.
Ask The Pharmacist Group, LLC