In a major study of over 3,000 patients with age-related macular degeneration, the “Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group”, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), found that large doses of antioxidants plus zinc delayed progression of ARMD. Eye doctors at 11 research centers measured and assessed retinal photos and measured visual acuity in high risk groups of patients with ARMD who received one of the following;
1. Antioxidants (500mg vitamin C; 400 IU Vitamin E; and 15 mg beta carotene) alone,
2. Zinc (80 mg as zinc oxide and copper, 2 mg as cupric oxide) alone,
3. Antioxidants plus zinc (both as listed above),
4. placebo (sugar pill).
The results showed that patients that received the antioxidants plus zinc had a reduction in the rate of loss of visual acuity. No significant side effects were observed. It is concluded that if you’re older than 55, have intermediate or advanced ARMD, and are without contraindications (such as smoking), that you should consider taking supplemental antioxidants plus zinc to reduce the progression of the disease. See your eye doctor to see if you’re a candidate for such therapy. (Archives of Ophthalmology, vol. 119, oct, 2001, p1417-1436)
Also see our posted article about Vitamin E and treatment of macular degeneration.