Eye health: Nutritionist reveals foods that protect your eyes
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Like many bodily functions, eyesight is one that can become compromised with age. Although being older isn’t the only cause of vision problems, it will significantly raise your risk of certain conditions. One such condition is age-related macular degeneration.
Also known as AMD, age-related macular degeneration is a common condition most prevalent among people aged over 50.
It usually first affects the centre of a person’s vision, but can become worse.
Initially a person with the condition might notice blurring or distortion of their central vision, which can become a black spot.
In extreme cases it can lead to vision loss, although this is rare.
One expert shared two supplements that could prevent AMD progressing from the early stages.
Doctor Deborah Lee, from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy, explained: “Those with established AMD are recommended to take Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS/AREDS2) supplements as this has been shown to reduce the risk of progression from intermediate to advanced AMD by 25 percent.
“Having a diet rich in antioxidants is likely to help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
“AREDS/AREDS2 supplements contain vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, copper, lutein, zeaxanthin and zinc. These are all powerful antioxidants.”
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More specifically AREDS contains vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, copper and zinc, whereas AREDS2 contains vitamin C, vitamin E, copper, lutein, zeaxanthin and zinc.
AREDS and AREDS2 are available over the counter, however, these supplements are only meant for people who already have AMD.
“However, taking AREDS by healthy people does not prevent the onset of AMD, and does not prevent cataracts,” she warned.
“It’s always best to get vitamins and minerals from fresh food rather than taking supplements unless this is clinically indicated.”
The efficacy of AREDS was examined in a trial by the National Eye Institute (NEI).
As part of the research, 3,640 participants who had “early or worse” AMD were enrolled between 1992 and 1998.
A separate trial to test AREDS2 was launched in 2006.
Both concluded: “Taking AREDS or AREDS2 supplements reduces the risk of progression from intermediate to advanced AMD by about 25 percent. AREDS and AREDS2 supplements do not prevent AMD onset.
“AREDS and AREDS2 supplements do not have an effect on cataract.
“Omega-3 fatty acid supplements do not have an effect on cataract or AMD.
“Current and former smokers should take the AREDS2 formula and avoid the AREDS formula with beta-carotene, which increases lung cancer risk.”
If you think you could have AMD you should speak with your optician or GP.
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