AREDS Vitamins for Macular Degeneration

AREDS Eye Vitamins for Macular DegenerationThere is no cure for macular degeneration, but what can you do to reduce your risk of getting age-related macular degeneration (ARMD)?  For some patients with macular degeneration, eye vitamins based upon the AREDS formulation may reduce the chance of losing significant vision from macular degeneration.

What is AREDS 1

AREDS stands for the original study conducted by the National Eye Institute (NEI).  The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) was initially sponsored by the NEI around 2001 to specifically determine if certain eye vitamins could reduce the risk of vision loss from macular degeneration (ARMD).

Over 3600 patients completed the 5 year study which found that the “AREDS formulation” vitamins could reduce the chance of significant vision loss by about 25 percent.

The AREDS1 formulation contains:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Beta-carotene
  • Zinc
  • Copper


In 2006, the study was repeated.  Additional nutrients such as lutein, zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids were studied.  The results confirmed the original conclusions and that the anti-oxidants lutein and zeaxanthin could reduce the progression of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD).  Omega-3 fatty acids are may be beneficial.

The AREDS2 Formulation includes:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Lutein and Zeaxanthin
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids
  • Zinc
  • No Beta-carotene (found to increase lung cancer in smokers)

Commercially Available Vitamins

The AREDS2 formulation is now widely available under various brand names including:

  • I-Caps AREDS 2 (Alcon)
  • PreserVision AREDS 2 (Bausch + Lomb)
  • Eyepex Macula (Eyepex Formulas)
  • MacularProtect Complete AREDS2 (ScienceBased Health)
  • others

Who Should Take AREDS?

These vitamins should be taken for patients with either intermediate or advanced macular degeneration.  Patients with intermediate macular degeneration may have little or no vision loss.  Only your eye doctor can detect if you have intermediate AMD.  Follow the advice of your doctor.

Patients with advanced macular degeneration have likely had severe vision loss in one eye.  AREDS vitamins may slow the progression of the AMD and, more importantly, reduce the chance of the healthier eye from losing vision from AMD by about 25%.

Dietary Changes to Reduce AMDLeafy Green Spinach for Macular Degeneration | Burlington County Eye Physicians

AREDS 2 determined that the patients with the lowest levels of dietary lutein and zeaxanthin derived the most benefit from the AREDS 2 vitamins.

Dietary recommendations stemming from the AREDS studies now include eating green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, turnip greens, collard greens and romaine lettuce), broccoli, zucchini, garden peas and Brussels sprouts.  Eggs are also good sources of lutein and zeaxanthin.

Though not a direct by-product of the AREDS studies, but worth mentioning, other research has shown a benefit to eating more fish.

We look forward to seeing you.  Please call us (609.877.2800) for an appointment.

Gregory Scimeca, M.D.
Ophthalmologist and Medical Director

Burlington County Eye Physicians
Eye Professionals, LLC (Millville, NJ)
Eye Physicians and Surgeons of Bucks County (Langhorne, PA)