AREDS2: Omega-3 does not reduce risk of AMD progression

Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2)The long-awaited results of Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) have shown that adding omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients to standard antioxidant vitamins doesn’t give any added protection against age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The disease is reported as the leading cause of blindness in the developed world, accounting for 50% of all blindness in the US.

“Without more effective ways of slowing progression, the number of persons with advanced AMD is expected to double over the next 20 years, resulting in increasing socioeconomic burden,” says Dr. Emily Chew of the National Eye Institute.

AMD is currently medicated with the AREDS formula of supplements, slowing the condition’s progression to advanced stages. Researchers have been testing additional preventatives.

About AREDS2

The original AREDS trial tested vitamins C and E in combination with beta-carotene – also a carotenoid vitamin – and zinc. This trial concluded that participants who had taken the AREDS supplement, over a five-year period, were 25% less likely to progress to advanced AMD in comparison to participants who had taken a placebo.

Following on from this, in 2008 AREDS2 began. Researchers tested Omega 3, as well as the carotenoid vitamins lutein and zeaxanthin, as additional ingredients to the previous AREDS formula. The study was designed to discover whether these extra components affected advanced AMD.  The results showed conclusively that these additions did not make any difference to the disease’s progression.

MPS II macular pigment screenerHalting the progression of AMD

“Wet AMD is a silent epidemic of the aging global population,” says Dr. William Li, president of the Angiogenesis Foundation. “Helping the elderly preserve their vision through effective use of antiangiogenic treatments is an important way to ensure a high quality of life.”

Key to this is spotting those at most risk of developing AMD – and this can be done when people are in their forties, rather than their sixties, by which time the disease may have taken hold.

Optometrists who install the MPS II macular pigment screener (pictured) in their practice can offer a fast and accurate 90-second test which will enable them to detect patients at risk of the condition. They can quickly offer advice on simple changes to diet and lifestyle, and prescribe the correst supplementation which will help delay or even prevent onset of this debilitating disease.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *