Macular Degeneration Prevention

Preventive steps to help decrease the possibility of progressing age-related macular degeneration (AMD):

UV 400 Filters. Ultraviolet 400nm filters in clear glasses and sunglasses keeps the damaging radiation out of the eye.  Ultraviolet radiation exposure occurs on both sunny and cloudy days.

Antioxidants and carotenoids. Many studies have shown the benefits of oral antioxidants and carotenoids in preventing, slowing or stopping the progression of macular degeneration in many patients. The following therapies may be helpful depending upon the type and stage of macular degeneration. Dosing is recommended at twice per day if possible.

  1. For those with intermediate AMD or advanced AMD in one eye, the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) formulation of high-potency anti-oxidant vitamins will reduce the risk of progressing to more severe vision loss. The current AREDS 2 studies remove the Vitamin A (beta-carotene) and add 1,000 mg Omega 3.

  2. Antioxidants for the macula include zinc 25 mg and selenium 40 mcg daily. If you are prone to anemia, a daily dose of 1 mg copper per day is recommended in conjunction with zinc to reduce the risk of anemia. Zinc can cause gastrointestinal problems in some patients.  To minimize this risk, it is recommended to take these supplements with food and/or at bedtime.

  3. Carotenoids:  Lutein and zeaxanthin.  Lutein is best taken at a separate time than Vitamin A supplements, foods or any multi-vitamin to ensure maximum absorption.

  4. A recommended total daily dosage to for most patients should be about:

Vitamin C

Vitamin E

Zinc

Lutein

Zeaxanthin

Copper

Omega 3

Vitamin D

500 mg

400 IU

25 mg

10 mg

2 mg

2 mg

DHA 350 mg & EPA 650 mg

700 IU

AREDS 2 commercially available OTC

Systane I-Caps AREDS-2 (2 chewables per day)

Ocuvite Adult 50+ (one per day)

B&L Preservision AREDS 2 (2 capsules daily)

B&L Preservision AREDS 2 (2 chewables daily)

Dosages, therapies and sources are patient specific and should be coordinated with your eye doctor.

Thyroid medications should be taken at least 3 hours separate from macular degeneration tablets.

 

Diet.  3 one cup servings of fresh spinach, cooked or raw, weekly have been shown by a major health study to significantly prevent and slow macular degeneration. More servings per week are probably better and kale, collard greens and colored vegetables are also good foods. Patients taking Coumadin should first consult with their managing physician before starting a diet change in green vegetables.

 

Amsler Grid. Daily testing of each eye separately with an Amsler grid helps to identify any significant changes in macular degeneration. Call changes to your eye doctor immediately.

 

Things that can make macular degeneration worse or increase the risk of macular degeneration:

  • High Blood Pressure. High blood pressure has been shown to be a risk factor in macular degeneration. Keeping your blood pressure within normal limits may be helpful.

 

  • High Cholesterol. High cholesterol has been shown to be a risk factor in macular degeneration. Keeping your blood cholesterol within normal limits may be helpful.

 

  • Smoking. Smoking has been shown to be a major risk factor in macular degeneration. Smokers must avoid all Vitamin A or beta-carotene supplements as these increases the risk of lung cancer.

 

  • Body Mass Index when elevated, increases chances of developing macular degeneration.

 

  • Genetic testing is indicated in some patients with, and those at risk for, macular degeneration

 

  • Exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration.