Written by: Keith F. Dahlhauser, MD
When it comes to maintaining optimal eye health, finding the best vitamins for your eyes is crucial. One of the most recommended supplements by eye care professionals is AREDS, a specific mix of vitamins and minerals proven to slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Roughly 200 million people worldwide have AMD, making it one of the leading causes of vision loss in older adults. To help slow the progression of AMD, Cascade Eye & Skin Centers wants to highlight the best vitamins for your eyes. The following will discuss the benefits of AREDS in greater detail and explain why it’s one of the most recommended supplements for eye care.
AREDS Vs. AREDS 2
AREDS stands for age-related eye disease study, a major clinical trial sponsored by the National Eye Institute. The original AREDS formulation included vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, zinc, and copper. However, the subsequent AREDS 2 study made some modifications to this formula. Beta-carotene was removed due to its potential health risks in smokers, and two ingredients, lutein and zeaxanthin, were added. These changes resulted in the AREDS 2 formulation, which is now widely recommended. If you smoke or are a former smoker, it’s important to note that the beta-carotene component of AREDS may increase your risk of lung cancer. Therefore, the AREDS 2 formula is a much safer alternative.
The Role of AREDS in Eye Health
AREDS 2 vitamins play a significant role in eye health, particularly for those with AMD. AMD is a common eye condition that affects the macula, the part of the eye responsible for sharp, central vision. The AREDS 2 study found that taking an AREDS 2 supplement may reduce the risk of progression from intermediate to advanced AMD, making them some of the best vitamins for your eyes.
What Are AREDS Vitamins Made Of?
The AREDS 2 formulation includes:
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) 500 mg
- Vitamin E 400 international units (IU)
- Lutein 10 mg
- Zeaxanthin 2 mg
- Zinc (as zinc oxide) 80 mg
- Copper (as cupric oxide) 2 mg
Each of these vitamins and minerals contributes to eye health in different ways. This mix of vitamins and minerals cannot be found in generic multivitamins or food sources alone. Only AREDS 2 includes these unique ingredients in the exact amounts necessary for optimal eye care.
Who Should Take AREDS Vitamins?
Although AREDS may be the best vitamin for your eyes, it’s important to note that not everyone needs these supplements. If you don’t have AMD, AREDS vitamins may be unnecessary. However, if you do have AMD — or are at risk of developing it due to family history or age — then AREDS 2 is one of the most effective ways to maintain eye health. Before beginning any new supplement, it’s important to speak with your eye care professional. They can advise you on the best vitamins for your eyes based on your individual needs and health history.
Where to Get AREDS Vitamins
AREDS 2 supplements can be purchased over the counter at most pharmacies and online. When choosing a supplement, it’s crucial to check the ingredients list to ensure it contains the correct amounts of the necessary vitamins and minerals. Your eye care professional may also recommend a specific brand. If you’re looking for the best vitamins for your eyes, Cascade Eye & Skin Centers recommends AREDS 2 as a safe and effective way to reduce your risk of AMD progression.
Potential Side Effects of AREDS Vitamins
AREDS 2 may change the way your body digests food. Therefore, it’s imperative to discuss AREDS 2 with your doctor or eye care professional before beginning the supplement. As mentioned above, it’s also important to note beta-carotene may increase your risk of lung cancer if you smoke or are a former smoker. For smokers and former smokers, only use an AREDS formulation without beta-carotene. If you are taking medications or other supplements, check with your doctor to make sure they don’t interact negatively with AREDS.
Protect Your Vision at Cascade Eye & Skin Centers
At Cascade Eye & Skin Centers, we’re committed to providing comprehensive eye care services, including guidance on nutrition and supplements for eye health. Our team of experienced ophthalmologists can help determine if AREDS vitamins are right for you and provide personalized recommendations based on your specific needs. Your vision is one of your most valuable assets, and it’s our mission to help you protect it. Click here to schedule an appointment and take the first step toward optimal eye health.