In an attempt to maintain optimal health and boost our immune systems (and thanks to clever marketing and advertising campaigns), we fill our medicine cabinets with a range of vitamins and supplements. But what about vitamins for our eyes? Do they regularly make it onto our shopping lists? Should we even be considering eye supplements? As complex organs of sight, once damaged, our eyes don't grow back or heal. This is where AREDS 2 eye vitamins have come under the spotlight, especially when it comes to slowing down age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Whether you've done your research, or are a relative newcomer to the subject of retinal health, arming yourself with some basic knowledge about AREDS 2 eye supplements will help you make an informed decision around this ophthalmic industry 'buzzword.'
“Patients who have age-related macular degeneration have a clear benefit to taking an antioxidant vitamin combination known as the Age-Related Eye Diseases Study (AREDS) 2 formula…The AREDS and AREDS 2 studies use a gold-standard research design. We are therefore quite confident in the results.” -Adrienne L. West, M.D., with the University of Michigan’s Kellogg Eye Center.
Decoding the acronym + clinical trial results
AREDS stands for Age-Related Eye Disease Study. It's a long-term research project conducted by the National Eye Institute (NEI) to explore the impact of certain nutrients on age-related eye conditions, particularly macular degeneration and cataracts.
The initial clinical trials - AREDS - ran from 1992 - 2001 and were aimed at investigating the effects of certain vitamins and minerals (viz. high doses of Vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene and zinc) on reducing the risk of advanced (AMD) and cataracts; two major eye conditions that can threaten our vision as we age.
(The research noted that the high levels of antioxidants and zinc reduced the risk of AMD and associated vision loss by about 25%. There was, however, no significant effect on the progression of cataracts).
In 2006, the NEI scientists started a second ground-breaking study - AREDS 2 - to determine if the formula could be improved by lowering the zinc, adding Omega 3 fatty acids and also substituting the beta-carotene with Lutein and Zeaxanthin.
This trial discovered that swapping beta-carotene with lutein and zeaxanthin could further decrease the risk of late AMD in individuals with low dietary intake of these nutrients. Additionally, a small 25mg dose of zinc offered similar advantages in lowering the risk of advanced AMD progression.
The power player ingredients
AREDS 2 eye vitamins are specially designed for individuals who are at risk of developing advanced AMD; particularly those with intermediate or advanced AMD in one or both eyes. People who already have late-stage AMD in one eye but not the other are also potential candidates.
Taking centre stage in the AREDS 2 eye vitamins are the following key players:
Are AREDS 2 eye vitamins for you?
Containing targeted nutrients at specific dosages based on the findings of the NEI study, the formulation of AREDS 2 eye supplements makes them different from other multivitamins. Regular multivitamins marketed for eye health may not have the right combination or amounts of these nutrients tailored to eye health.
If you have a family history of AMD or are concerned about your eye health as you age, it's worth discussing these eye vitamins with your eye care professional. (If you have not been diagnosed with any eye condition, it's always best to consult your doctor before starting any eye supplement regimen).
While AREDS 2 eye vitamins have been found to be generally safe and effective, some people may experience mild side effects like stomach upset or minor digestive issues due to the zinc content. It's essential to follow the recommended dosage and consult your healthcare provider if you have any concerns or pre-existing health conditions.
(If you're already taking other supplements or medications, make sure to inform your doctor, as certain combinations might not be suitable).
Pop in online at Oculus Curae
At Oculus Curae, we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of innovative and affordable eye care solutions.
For those in the at-risk AMD category, our full-strength formula Vita Naina Areds 2 soft gels are an all-natural and gluten-free, non-GMO eye supplement that contains the specific NEI-researched ingredients to support Macular and Retinal health.
(Disclaimer: The FDA has not evaluated the statements made regarding Dietary supplements. A dietary supplement is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease).