Was the AREDS2 report the end of the story for nutritional supplements for AMD prevention? Not according to the recent Eye Nutrition Meeting hosted by Théa Pharmaceuticals in Barcelona, as Alison Ewbank reports

Posted by Mike Hale
Treatment for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a topic that seems to attract controversy. On issues such as NHS costs and drug efficacy, arguments surrounding AMD treatment now extend well outside the medical profession and into the public arena.
The role of diet and dietary supplements in AMD is not short on controversy either and again this debate is increasingly being played out in public. When the best nutrients for eye health are published on the pages of The Daily Mail it may be time for all eye care practitioners to join that debate.
For practitioners, controversy around AMD and nutrition arises not from the popular press but from the results of two large-scale, multi-site intervention studies – the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) and AREDS2 – funded by the US National Eye Institute and launched more than 20 years ago.
Published in 2001, the original AREDS report looked at the effects of vitamins C and E, Vitamin A (beta-carotene), and zinc supplementation on progression of AMD in those with intermediate or late AMD. High levels of antioxidants and zinc were found to significantly reduce the risk of advanced AMD and associated vision loss in those already in the later stages of the disease.
The authors concluded that those older than 55 years with AMD and at risk of progression, and without contraindications such as smoking, should consider taking a supplement of antioxidants plus zinc such as that used in this study.
The much-anticipated AREDS2 report, published in 2013, investigated whether adding lutein + zeaxanthin (the main components of macular pigment), the omega-3 fatty acids DHA + EPA, or both, to the original AREDS formulation decreased the risk of progression to advanced AMD, as observational studies had suggested. AREDS2 also evaluated the effect of eliminating beta-carotene, lowering zinc dose or both.
The surprising finding was that the addition of these ingredients did not further reduce risk of progression to advanced AMD. However, because of a potential increased incidence of lung cancer in former smokers, lutein + zeaxanthin could successfully replace beta-carotene without the associated toxicity………
Read more: http://www.opticianonline.net/beyond-areds-eye-nutrition-meeting-barcelona/
Source: Optician Online