AREDS antioxidants beneficial in some cases of advanced AMD

May 3, 2005

Patients with advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in one eye and a baseline visual acuity of 20/100 or better might benefit from antioxidant supplements, according to an analysis of a subset of patients from the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), reported Thomas R. Friberg, MD, at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology annual meeting on Monday.

May 3

- Fort Lauderdale, FL - Patients with advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in one eye and a baseline visual acuity of 20/100 or better might benefit from antioxidant supplements, according to an analysis of a subset of patients from the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), reported Thomas R. Friberg, MD, at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology annual meeting on Monday.

In an analysis of category 4 patients (those who already had a neovascular event in one eye or had an event with central geographic atrophy in the eye), researchers found high-dose AREDS antioxidants (vitamin C and E) to provide a statistically significant reduction in visual acuity loss when compared with placebo.

When the same analysis was undertaken in patients with advanced AMD and a baseline visual acuity of 20/200 or better, the effect of the antioxidant supplements was not as great, explained Dr. Friberg of the University of Pittsburgh.

Another analysis was undertaken of incident AMD (which is the development of advanced AMD during the course of the AREDS) and a baseline visual acuity of 20/100, there was no statistical difference between the antioxidant group compared with placebo or antioxidants plus zinc versus placebo.

"This analysis showed no statistical benefit of treatment with the AREDS formulation, but suggests a protective effect with no evidence of harm," he noted. "There might be more of an effect as time goes by."

Follow-up of patients was about 3.5 years.