In 2001 and 2013, the National Eye Institute conducted two studies on age-related eye diseases. These studies, called AREDS and AREDS2, found that high doses of certain antioxidants and zinc showed positive effects in the treatment of moderate to severe age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Special vitamins, named AREDS and AREDS2 after the studies, were formulated based on these results and are the only supplements available that have been shown to slow the progression of AMD.
At Koch Eye Associates, our goal is always to improve our patients' quality of life through better vision and eye health using the most effective and cutting-edge treatments available. Patients who have or suspect they have AMD should schedule an exam at one of our facilities in Johnston, North Kingstown, Providence, Wakefield, Warwick, or Woonsocket, RI. If you are diagnosed with AMD after your comprehensive exam, we may recommend one of the AREDS formulas for your daily use.
"I first went to Koch Eye many years ago after being referred there for a follow up appointment after being treated at the emergency room for an eye injury, That was the only time I actually saw Dr. Koch himself (who was very nice by the way) It is only in the last few years (since my old lady eyes have begun to need reading glasses) that I have come in regularly for my eye exam and glasses prescription. I never have any problem with wait time because there are several optometrists. Really the only thing I am not crazy about is their hours. I wish it was possible to get an evening appointment or that there was an occasional Saturday. The office staff is pleasant and courteous"- I.C. / Yelp / May 09, 2019
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The best candidates for treatment with AREDS or AREDS2 supplements are patients at risk for AMD or who have already been diagnosed with AMD. During your visit to Koch Eye Associates, we will perform a comprehensive evaluation of your overall eye health, your risk for developing AMD, and your lifestyle to determine your candidacy. If you have already been diagnosed with AMD, the evaluation will include the stage of your disease. AREDS is not recommended for patients who smoke or who have smoked in the past, but AREDS2 may be an option. Your ophthalmologist will discuss all of these factors with you during your consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe to keep taking my usual multivitamin?
It depends on the amounts of certain elements in the multivitamin, such as zinc and Vitamin E. It is always best to discuss all the medications and supplements you already take with your ophthalmologist and primary care physician. They may recommend that you use a multivitamin that contains less or no zinc and Vitamin E.
Are AREDS formulas safe for smokers?
AREDS contains beta-carotene, which studies have shown is associated with lung cancer. Smokers and former smokers should not take AREDS. Beta-carotene is substituted with lutein in AREDS2 so smokers and former smokers can safely use the AREDS2 formula.
Should I take AREDS if my AMD is in the early stages?
The AREDS studies did not show that the supplements had an effect on the earliest stages of AMD. The benefits of the AREDS supplements are most present in the moderate stages of the disease where they have been shown to slow the progression to advanced stages. It is important to have regularly scheduled eye exams at Koch Eye Associates so we can monitor your AMD and determine the best time to begin using AREDS.
Do AREDS supplements have any side effects?
Some patients have experienced a slight yellow or orange tint to their skin due to the beta-carotene in AREDS. Most of the reported side effects are very rare but have included abnormal liver function, nausea, weakness, itchiness, head and joint pain, rashes, blurred vision, and breast tenderness.
While there is no known prevention or cure for AMD, the advanced stages of the disease can be slowed significantly, meaning some vision can be preserved. The most important factor in maintaining vision with AMD is diligent, consistent treatment. The ophthalmologists at Koch Eye Associates can create a personalized treatment and management plan for your AMD that may include the use of AREDS or AREDS2. Contact one of our Rhode Island offices today to take a stand against age-related macular degeneration.