Vitamins, if used correctly, may help prevent vision loss from AMD

June 3, 2008

A study conducted at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) appear to lack a clear understanding of supplement use in AMD treatment.

Balitmore-A study conducted at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) appear to lack a clear understanding of supplement use in AMD treatment, and that "improved patient education may be vital to maximize the potential" of this therapy, concluded researchers, led by Susan B. Bressler, MD.

It was found by researchers that nearly 40% of those likely to benefit from specific vitamin/mineral supplements either were not taking the supplements or not using the recommended dosage. Also, some patients used high-dose supplements even in the absence of evidence that these would be effective for their levels of AMD or other eye conditions.

The impact of these findings could be substantial because it is figured that in the United States if the appropriate patients used the correct supplements, about 300,000 people could potentially avoid advanced AMD within a 5-year period. A specific formula of antioxidants (vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene), found in 2001 by the Age-related Eye Disease Study, was able to reduce the probability of progression to advanced AMD by 25% among those at risk.

The Wilmer Eye Institute-based study surveyed 332 individuals who identified themselves as having AMD with the median participant age being 79 years old. Out of the 228 individuals who were considered candidates to benefit from the AREDS formula, only 140 patients were using the correct formula.