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Ask Dr. Schauer – AREDS and AMD

“My mother said she has advanced AMD in her left eye and she tried to explain the AREDS formulation to me. I think she said it is a treatment but can you shed some light on this? Also, what is AMD?”

This question came in from listener in Mandan to our 103.3 US Country weekly chats on Thursday mornings. Let’s shed some lights on all those letters: AMD and AREDS.

What is AMD?

AMD stands for age-related macular degeneration. It affects the macula, which is the structure inside your eye that is responsible for your central vision. It is what allows you to see things sharp and clear. There are 2 forms of AMD: dry and wet. Dry AMD is the most common type out of the two.

For more detailed information about AMD, you can see our previous blog here or visit our patient education page here.

At this point in time, there is no cure and no treatment for dry AMD.

What is AREDS?

AREDS stands for age related eye disease study. It is one of the ongoing research studies that is trying to find a treatment for dry AMD. AREDS has found that there are certain nutrients that have been shown to slow the progression of AMD when it was studied in people who had severe advanced stages. Please note that the study did not show that it stopped or prevented AMD, and it also did not reverse any existing damage. The current AREDS 2 recommendation consists of specific amounts of lutein, zeaxanthin, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and vitamins C and E.

For most patients who are diagnosed with AMD, we recommend they start AREDS supplementation. However, there is some controversy currently in the medical world if this AREDS cocktail should be more tailored to each person based on genetic testing, but there hasn’t been conclusive evidence one way or the other at this point in time. Make sure you consult with your optometrist before starting any supplementation for AMD.

What can be done?

For our listener, if his mother truly does have AMD, it does increase his risk of getting it since there is a genetic component.

Two of the most important things a person can do to help decrease their risk of getting AMD is

  • Do NOT smoke.
  • Wear UV protection.

And of course, make sure to have regular annual eye examinations with your optometrist at Vision Source Mandan!


Top image by UpSplash on Pexels (location) used under Creative Commons Zero (CCO) License. Image has been cropped and modified from original. Image rights state commercial use and modifications allowed when image was obtained on 04/18/2018.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.