Over the years I’ve treated scores of patients with vision loss. It’s a devastating, life-altering condition. Around age 40, the lenses of the eyes begin to lose their elasticity, and small print becomes harder to read, necessitating reading glasses for many.
With age, the incidence of retinopathy and other disorders of the retina increases. Lenses cloud over as cataracts form, and central vision may disappear as age-related macular degeneration progresses. Folks, these are serious problems that require aggressive preventive action.
Fortunately, there is hope for vision problems. The retina has the remarkable ability to repair itself—but only if it is given the proper conditions. Some free-radical damage to your eyes is unavoidable, but an appropriate diet, nutritional supplementation, and other lifestyle changes can reduce damage and help preserve healthy eyes.
Back in 2001, a groundbreaking study called the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) revealed that supplements containing 500 mg of vitamin C, 400 IU of vitamin E, 25,000 IU of beta-carotene, 80 mg of zinc, and 2 mg of copper were extremely effective at staving off the progression of age-related macular degeneration.
Last year, a follow-up study (AREDS2) was published. This time around, several different arms of the study tested and retested these nutrients with and without additional nutrient combos.
The new study confirmed that targeted nutrients reduce the risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration by 25–30 percent. It also revealed that adding omega-3s had no effect and that the combination of 10 mg of lutein and 2 mg of zeaxanthin—used in place of beta-carotene—was equally effective. Furthermore, this latest study suggested that beta-carotene competes with lutein and zeaxanthin for absorption and that the amount of zinc that can be optimally absorbed by the body is 25 mg.
As a result, to ward off vision loss and other vision problems, I now recommend taking a targeted supplement that contains 5,000 IU of beta-carotene and 25 mg of zinc along with the other AREDS nutrients, coupled with a high-quality daily multinutrient, and eating foods rich in antioxidants, such as dark, leafy green vegetables.
Now it’s your turn: What are you doing to protect your vision?