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Vitamins & Supplements For The Eyes: Do They Work Or Is It Just Hype?

Dr. Katia Taba, Personalized Retina Care of Naples

There have been numerous reports and studies on the effectiveness of certain nutrients that may prevent or delay eye disorders. Dr. Taba, Ophthalmologist and Retina Specialist recommends vitamins to some of her patients depending on their current medications and specific condition. On the contrary, if you don’t need to supplement, it’s best to get your vitamins and nutrients from food.

Foods rich in vitamins A, C and E are good for your eyes and general health. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 3 vitamins have been proven to help your eyes. Starting a vitamin-rich diet now will give you healthy habits to follow all your life.

Vitamin A: is stored in fat. It comes from milk, egg yolks and liver. But you can also get Vitamin A by eating foods with beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is converted in the small intestine to retinol- a form of Vitamin A. Beta-carotene can be found in fruits and vegetables that are deep orange or yellow such as cantaloupe, mangos, apricots, peaches, sweet potatoes, squash and carrots. People with severe vitamin A deficiencies can have trouble seeing at night.

Vitamin C: is stored in water. It can be found in most fruits and vegetables, especially oranges, grape-fruit, strawberries, papaya, green peppers and tomatoes.

• Vitamin E: is stored in fat. Look for it in vegetable oils (safflower and corn oil), nuts (almonds and pecans), wheat germ and sunflower seeds.

The National Eye Institutes AREDS & AREDS2 studies
Researchers with the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) reported in 2001 that a combination of vitamins supplementation called the AREDS formulation can reduce the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The original AREDS formulation contains vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, zinc and copper.2

In 2006, the same research group, which is based at NIH’s National Eye Institute, began a second study called AREDS2 to determine if they could improve the AREDS formulation. They tried adding omega-3 fatty acids, as well as the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which are in the same family of nutrients as beta-carotene. The researchers also tried substituting lutein and zeaxanthin for beta-carotene, which prior studies had associated with an increased risk of lung cancer in smokers. The study found that while omega-3 fatty acids had no effect on the formulation, lutein and zeaxanthin together appeared to be a safe and effective alternative to beta-carotene.2

AREDS2 Study
• Independent 5-year clinical study
• 4,200 participants with moderate to advanced Age-related Macular Degeneration
• Examined benefits of adding lutein & zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids to original AREDS formula
• Removed beta-carotene (due to concerns regarding the increased risk of lung cancer in current or former smokers)
• Added lutein and zeaxanthin2

Vitamins are NOT ALWAYS the Answer
When you consider taking ANY supplements, you should check with your physician first. Dr. Taba sees many patients in her practice that present already taking eye vitamins, when they don’t need to. AREDS vitamins do not prevent macular degeneration. AREDS supplements are indicated for people with moderate and advanced macular degeneration.

Personalized Retina Care of Naples
If you are experiencing any changes in your eye health, whether it is blurry vision, pain, impaired vision, or any other eye irregularities, it is imperative that you see an ophthalmologist right away. The earlier disease or disorders are detected, the better the outcome and treatment options are for you.

Personalized Retina Care of Naples provides incomparable diagnosis, medical and surgical treatment for retinal conditions and disorders. Dr. Taba is a Board-Certified Ophthalmologist and is Fellowship trained in surgical and medical retinal diseases.

There are ways to prevent the progression of low sight, regain your independence and correct your vision. To find out more, or to schedule your appointment, go online www.retinanaples.com or please call (239) 325-3970 today.

Personalized Retina Care of Naples

www.retinanaples.com
239-325-3970

3467 Pine Ridge Road Suite 103
Naples 34109

Sources:
AAO, “Healthy Eyes,” Vitamins, American Academy of Ophthalmology aao.org, 2019
https://www.nei.nih.gov/areds2

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