AREDS2 FOR MACULAR DEGENERATION By Dr. Mark German, Optometrist at Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin
The two types of macular degeneration are the “dry” and the “wet”. With the dry type, we see pigment changes in the back of your eye but your vision may be unaffected initially. The wet type is more serious. This is where blood vessels have broken through the back of the eye causing distorted central vision. If this happens, you may be referred to a retina specialist for treatments such as injections in the eye.
Macular degeneration patients are asked to view an Amsler grid at least monthly and return promptly if any distortions are noted. In order to decrease the chances of converting to the wet type, they are to include leafy green vegetables in their diet, not to smoke, to wear sunglasses outside and to take vitamin supplements called AREDS.
AREDS contain a high dosage of beta-carotene which converts to vitamin A in the body. This substance is an antioxidant that helps with macular degeneration and also for some cancers and heart disease. There is a problem, however, in that this substance can increase the chances of lung cancer in current or former smokers and may cause stomach upset in many people.
A recent study indicated that taking out the beta-carotene and substituting lutein and zeaxanthin was just as effective without the potential side effects. This new formula is called “AREDS2” and is available from PreserVision in stores or Viteyes on line for home delivery. So next time you need supplements for macular degeneration, all our doctors are recommending that you switch to the AREDS2 and take 2 gel tablets per day. This makes life simpler because you no longer have to take extra lutein tablets. Still confused? Give us a call.
Dr. Mark German is an optometrist practicing at Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals with Dr. Martha Jay and Dr. Josephine-Liezl Cueto. He accepts patients of all ages into his practice and most insurance plans. For more information, call 262-241-1919 or visit www.LakeShoreVision.com.