Q. I have been diagnosed with the onset of macular degeneration. The eye doctor said there is no cure.

Are there any vitamins or other nutritional supplements that might slow the process down? I’d like to keep my vision for as long as possible.

A. Research has shown that several nutritional factors can slow the development of macular degeneration. A study in 2001 called AREDS demonstrated that vitamins C and E, together with beta-carotene and the minerals zinc and copper, could slow vision loss (Archives of Ophthalomogy, Oct. 2001).

A Dutch study in 2005 confirmed that these nutrients can be helpful in preventing age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Research shows that people who eat more fish are less susceptible to AMD, presumably because of the omega-3 fats in fish. Just this spring, scientists published evidence that vitamin D can also reduce the risk of AMD (Archives of Ophthalmology, May 2007).

The most recent research shows that a diet rich in refined carbohydrates such as sugar and white flour is not good for the eyes (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, July, 2007). People who ate such “high-glycemic index” diets were almost 50 percent more likely to develop advanced macular degeneration.

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  1. Virginia
    Reply

    I have wet macular degeneration in one eye. My Doctor prescribed Areds formula vitamins to prevent disease in the other eye. I’m concerned about the large amount of Vit. A in this formula – 28,640IU daily. Should I worry that this may cause a different set of health problems? I also have osteoporosis.
    Thanks for your input.

  2. JLB
    Reply

    I have AMD and my night vision is not good. My retinal doctor told me to try some bilberry.
    Found at any drug store. I just started taking it.
    Read about it on line use google.

  3. Lori
    Reply

    I am a truck driver and run 600 miles per night. My eyes were really bothering me, so I went to see an eye doctor who prescribed night vision glasses. They work, however, my eyesight feels like it is getting worse, with shadows and blurred vision by day… I am not having to use reading glasses.
    My doctor says that my eyesight is not bad enough for a prescription to wear glasses all the time. I am getting headaches more lately as well. I am told that my eyes are getting weaker because I am 50 years old. Would any of the otc vitamins specifically for eyes be helpful? There are a few available and they are very pricey… do you have any recommendations? I am a vegetarian and I do not drink… your advice would be greatly appreciated.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: THE VITAMINS MARKETED FOR EYES ARE SPECIFICALLY TO PREVENT THE PROGRESSION OF MACULAR DEGENERATION. UNLESS THAT IS THE SOURCE OF YOUR PROBLEM, IT IS NOT CLEAR THEY WOULD HELP.

  4. Jackie
    Reply

    I was wondering what one can take to reduce cataracts? I have had retinal tears in both eyes due to severe myopia (I had two lasik surgeries as well) and though my cataracts are mild now, I would like to reduce the need for anymore surgeries in the future.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: WE INTERVIEWED DR. ROBERT ABEL A FEW YEARS AGO. HE MAKES NUTRITIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS ON HIS WEB SITE: http://www.eyeadvisory.com

  5. Donna
    Reply

    My father, when he was in his late 70’s discovered he had Macular Degeneration. He also checked with a Retina Specialist, who gave no hope in saving his sight. After doing some extensive research I suggested to my father to start on Vitamin E and C, selenium and zinc. In a few months when he went back to his Optometrist, the Doctor could not believe that he had a complete reversal. He lived to be 95 and still retained his sight.
    In the last 30 years I have been a firm believer in natural supplements.

  6. MRJ
    Reply

    Our pastor’s parents were told by their doctor to drink red wine to prevent worsening of their AMD. Being teetotalling Methodists, they had to hold their noses and take their wine like it was medicine, but after a year, their macular degeneration had not progressed at all.

  7. Rob
    Reply

    TVNZ [TV New Zealand] recently screened a British series on the effects of various foods on our bodies; one programme featured a lady who improved her (failing) eyesight markedly by eating spinach every day – she actually reversed Macular Degeneration. (Unfortunately I cannot eat spinach, so am unable to try this for myself but it sounds worth trying to me!)

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