JAMA, Macular Degeneration, Ophthalmology / 10.05.2013

MedicalResearch.com eInterview with: Emily Y. Chew, MD Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Applications National Eye Institute (NEI)/National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, Maryland MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?
 Dr. Chew: For patients who have intermediate age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or those with advanced AMD in one eye, we have recommended a mixture of vitamins and minerals (vitamin C, E and beta-carotene, and zinc oxide and cupric oxide), known as Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) formulation.  We tested the effects of adding carotenoids, lutein/zeaxanthin, or omega-3 fatty acids or both to the AREDS formulation.  Omega-3 fatty acids did not have any effect on AMD.  Addition of lutein/zeaxanthin provided an additional 10% increase in the reduction of progression to advanced AMD.  In persons with the lowest dietary intake of lutein/zeaxanthin, supplementation with lutein/zeaxanthin provided 25% reduction in rates of developing advanced AMD When we tested lutein/zeaxanthin directly against beta-carotene, the risk of progressing to advanced AMD was reduced by 20%. Furthermore, beta-carotene was found to increase the risk of lung cancer.  To improve the safety and efficacy of the AREDS formulation, we would suggest the elimination of beta-carotene and adding lutein/zeaxanthin.  Omega-3 fatty acids added no further benefit. (more…)