Currently, no treatment exists for early age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which in many people shows no symptoms or loss of vision. People with intermediate AMD may benefit from taking the AREDS formula to slow down the progression of the disease. For later stages of AMD, eye care professionals can try different therapies to stop further vision loss. However, the treatment therapies are not a cure. AMD may progress even with treatment.
Researchers at the National Eye Institute tested whether taking nutritional supplements could protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in the Age-Related Eye Disease Studies (AREDS and AREDS2). They found that daily intake of certain high-dose vitamins and minerals can slow progression of the disease in people who have intermediate AMD, and those who have late AMD in one eye.
You may see claims that your specific genetic makeup (genotype) can influence how you will respond to AREDS supplements. Some recent studies have claimed that, depending on genotype, some patients will benefit from AREDS supplements and others could be harmed. These claims are based on a portion of data from the AREDS research. NEI investigators have done comprehensive analyses of the complete AREDS data. Their findings to date indicate that AREDS supplements are beneficial for patients of all tested genotypes. Based on the overall data, the American Academy of Ophthalmology does not support the use of genetic testing to guide treatment for AMD.
Finally, remember that the AREDS formulation is not a cure. It does not help people with early AMD, and will not restore vision already lost from AMD. But it may delay the onset of late AMD. It also may help slow vision loss in people who already have late AMD.
For all of the NEI information on this topic, please visit the following webpages:
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Facts About Age-Related Macular Degeneration