” BREAKING NEWS” EYE VITAMINS – HELPFUL OR HARMFUL?

EYE VITAMINS – HELPFUL OR HARMFUL? 

The answer is in your GENES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January  2016

Sarasota Florida: Patients with Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) may be preserving or paradoxically losing their vision due to a fixed formulation of high-dose eye vitamins and zinc known as the AREDS Formulation. This public health issue is of concern for patients diagnosed with Intermediate Dry AMD. Patients should ask their doctor if AREDS is safe and effective for their use and they should consider genetic testing to determine the safety and efficacy of their eye vitamin preparation.

Research published in the journal Ophthalmology in 2013 and in 2015 by Dr. Carl Awh (Tennessee Retina) et al. demonstrated that 35% of patients had a genetic profile, which did well on the AREDS formulation including Zinc. It also showed that for 13% of patients with a different genetic profile the standard AREDS formula was detrimental and significantly accelerated vision loss faster than placebo.

Data from the National Eye Institute as published were analyzed independently by Dr. Rafal Kustra, Associate Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Division of Biostatistics University of Toronto. Kustra stated “a strong interaction between CFH, ARMS2 and response to zinc use is observed… we find that the genetic modifier effect on AREDS treatment is significant and largely similar to that reported by Awh et al.”

Finally these analyses were reviewed again independently by Dr. Bernard Rosner, Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Department of Biostatistics, T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Rosner reported “I agree with the report by Dr. Rafal Kustra, there definitely is an interaction “.  All of the AREDS genetic data as published demonstrates a detrimental effect in at least 13% of patients with Macular Degeneration.

Genetic testing (www.macularisk.com) is available through ophthalmologists and optometrists.

About The Macular Degeneration Association: The Macular Degeneration Association is a nonprofit health organization providing the latest research information and advocacy for patients with all visual diseases. MDA is an IRS recognized 501(c) (3) organization and contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. We are dedicated to providing the latest information about research being conducted, educating and empowering age-related macular degeneration, diabetic macular edema, glaucoma and cataract patients all across the world. All visual diseases are increasingly prevalent degenerative eye diseases, affecting millions of aging seniors and younger adults.

The mission of Macular Degeneration Association (MDA) is to find a cure for all sight robbing diseases by disseminating research information, while providing education that will improve the quality of life today, tomorrow and in the future for patients and their caregivers.

 

About AREDS Eye Supplements: Patients with Intermediate Dry AMD have historically been treated with a fixed formulation of high-dose eye vitamins and zinc (AREDS) as the standard of care since the pivotal placebo controlled AREDS (Age Related Eye Disease Study) study was published by the National Eye Institute in 2001. DNA was collected from these patients but never analyzed until 2013. This formulation was modified slightly following a second ‘AREDS2’ study published in 2013 by the NEI. The highest-dose AREDS formulations were patented jointly through a business partnership between the NEI and Bausch and Lomb/Valeant and later licensed as well by Alcon/Novartis. We expect that millions of patients have taken high dose eye vitamins with zinc in North America. AREDS formulations come with brand names such as Preservision, iCaps, Eye Promise, MacuHealth, Macular Health, Vitalux, Fortifye, Viteyes, Doctor’s Optimal Formula and other brands including 25mg – 80mg of zinc. Some of these formulations are available with and without zinc.

Other information related to this public health issue may be found at:

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/canadian-firm-and-u-s-research-agency-in-heated-battle-over-safety-of-anti-blindness-pill

For more information:

Lawrence Hoffheimer, Chairman, Macular Degeneration Association

hoffheimer@me.com

Image: National Eye Institiute