All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘Age Related Macular Degeneration’

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Macular Degeneration – AREDS2 Results

The much anticipated AREDS2 trial has published its findings. The original AREDS (Age Related Eye Disease Study) found that the vitamin and mineral supplements which are now so commonly recommended to patients with early Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) were effective at slowing down the progression of the disease. The AREDS2 study looked at the benefits which might come from incorporating other supplements into the original tablets-

  • lutein
  • zeaxanthin
  • docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
  • eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)

It had been thought that incorporating these pigments which are found at the macular area, the area which is damaged in AMD would confer extra protection. The second two in the list are Omega 3 fatty acids which were also expected to help, but the study’s finding are that none of these extra ingredients are of any benefit over the original tablets’ formulation.


Macular Pigment Density and Dietary Supplements

Dry AMD It has been accepted for a while now that dietary supplements containing antioxidant vitamins and minerals can have a significant benefit to slowing down the progression of Dry Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). It has also been noted that certain pigments which are found in a normal macula (the area at the back of the eye responsible for acute vision) become depleted in AMD patients.

These pigments have a protective mechanism- they are also antioxidants, and their colour seems to filter out some of the more damaging rays which might reach the retina. Many tablet supplements have for a long time included these pigments in their formula, on the assumption that restoring these pigments to the macular area must be a good thing. There has been a long term debate whether ingesting these pigments in a tablet would have any beneficial effect- would they even be deposited back in the macula??

A recent study in Germany found that supplements do increase the amount of pigments in the blood stream, and that they do also deposit in the macular area. The next investigation is to establish if replacing these macular pigments is actually of any benefit- is the loss of pigment a result of AMD or the cause?

Studies are continuing- around the world and in Ireland to look at the effects of these pigments in both healthy eyes and in eyes with AMD, but for the moment we would recommend that tablet supplements containing anti-oxidant vitamins, minerals and pigments do seem to have enough of a benefit to advise their use, if there are early signs of Macular problems.

A healthy diet rich in the “superfood” -fruits, nuts, fish and vegetables may be another, perhaps better option for prevention- they say you shouldn’t throw multivitamins at a bad diet!

The German report can be found here- you may need to register (it is free) or login to see it.

A bad week for Aspirin?

Two reports this week have suggested that Aspirin may not be such a wonder drug after all.

One report published in the Jan 2012 issue of Ophthalmology indicated that regular Aspirin use may double the risk of Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD), and that  there is an indication that the more frequent the use, the more severe the ARMD. More investigation needs to be done on this, but for the moment, there is a suggestion that Aspirin use should be reconsidered in people who already have ARMD.

Another study published in Jan 2010, in The Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that Aspirin is not so effective in preventing CardioVascular events as perhaps initially thought, likewise it may not have the preventative cancer protection suspected, but definitely increased the risks of “non trivial bleeding”.

It may be worth asking your General Practitioner if this is of concern…

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