Age Related Macular Degeneration
Several exciting new advances are going on in the treatment of macular degeneration. AREDS 2 is a refinement of the original age related eye disease study that showed a significant correlation between certain supplements and a decrease in progression of dry macular degeneration to the more sight threatening wet form.
Eye Doctors to Start New Age Related Eye Disease Study-AREDS-2
AREDS 2 will add and refine the supplements being tested. They will also be tested to see if there is a reduction in the development of cataracts. Omega 3 (fish oils) will be added to the supplements.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Have Proven Effects on Dry Eye Treatment and are widely used by Optometrists Today. Now they may prove just as beneficial in Macular Degeneration Treatment.
Omega 3 oils contain docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and decrease the production of inflammatory compounds like prostaglandins and Leukotrienes. They may possibly offer some form of neuroprotection to the cells of the retina and delay cellular death.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are the major phytopigments.
Phytopigments are pigments found in vegetables like broccoli, spinach, peas and a number of other foods. They are the major components of the pigment found in the macula, the area of retinal tissue effected by macular degeneration. They help prevent damage to the retinal cells from free radicals (oxidative damage) and may also offer some neuroprotective benefits. Beta-carotene, the precursor for vitamin A, may be tested to see if it has any impact on results. While included in the original studies, there have been questions raised about the possibility of beta-carotene increasing the risk of lung cancer in smokers. Smoking is one of the major risk factors that makes people susceptible to developing macular degeneration.
With about 4000 patients to be enrolled, this is an exciting move forward in studying the effects of nutrition and supplementation on eye diseases. The results of the original trial were as good as any major drug used in treating health problems, I expect this trial will only improve those outcomes.