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How Vitamins Can Help Preserve Your Sight

Focus on Healthy, Well-Seeing Eyes

If you want to save your sight, first stick to the top five measures that can positively affect it. They are:

1) Don’t smoke

2) Wear your sunglasses

3) Have your eyes checked yearly

4) Maintain a healthy weight

5) Eat your vegetables and take your vitamins

The first four are fairly straightforward; but from a doctor’s perspective, the fifth is more complex. In general, a diet filled with an array of colorful fruits and vegetables is preferable for good eye health.

But studies show us that many people don’t adhere to this diet for many reasons, including: time, cost, spoilage and lack of availability. So is it more efficient, both time and cost-wise, to take vitamins for the best possible eye health? What vitamins are good for the eyes?

We have access to studies about vitamins in Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) – important, because macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the U.S.

The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS 1) sponsored by the National Eye Institute (NEI) shows that high levels of antioxidants and zinc significantly reduce the risk of advanced AMD and its associated vision loss in patients with category three and four AMD, advanced AMD or visual acuity less than 20/30 attributable to AMD in one eye.

The AREDS 1 formulation was not found to be a cure for AMD, nor was it found to be associated with vision restoration1. A second NEI-sponsored AREDS 2 study is underway. The eye care community anxiously awaits the completion of the study and its results.

In the meantime, a study titled Zeaxanthin and Visual Function (ZVF) shows clinical benefits of macular carotenoid supplementation, particularly in patients with early AMD. The study results showed an improvement in visual acuity, faster glare recovery, and improved visual parameters critical to safe night driving.

As a result of this and other supportive studies, our office currently prescribes a product called EyePromise® Restore to our AMD patients. We also prescribe this as a preventative measure to patients who are in risk categories for potentially developing AMD. This vitamin has successfully boosted macula pigment densities in a number of our patients, which serves to protect the eyes from oxidative damage caused from the normal aging process.

It is an exciting time in eye-health care as we learn more and more effective strategies to treat disease as well as prevent it. Keep your eyes on the prize…. healthy, well-seeing eyes.

[1]Richer SP, Stiles W, Graham-Hoffman K, et al. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of zeaxanthin and visual function in patients with atrophic age-related macular degeneration: The Zeaxanthin and Visual Function Study (ZVF) FDA IND #78, 973. Optometry. 2011;82(11): 667-680.e6.