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Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

AMD is the leading cause of blindness in seniors. There are alternative nutritional treatments instead of the drugs currently offered for AMD. The drugs are Lucentis, which is specifically designed to treat AMD and Avastin, a cancer drug that eye doctors have been using off-label for several years as an AMD treatment.

In a recent study, patients were treated with one of the two drugs for a year. At the end of the year, Avastin patients were able to read, on average, 8 additional letters on an eye chart, while Lucentis patients were able to read 8.5 additional letters. Of course there are side effects that may occur with the use the drugs. According to the Lucentis website, some patients who use the drug have had detached retinas and serious infections inside the eye. Other risks include “eye- and non-eye-related blood clots (heart attacks, strokes, and death).” The list goes on to include eye pain, small specks in vision, headaches, and respiratory infections. Stroke or heart problems (which can be fatal), serious kidney problems (which can also be fatal), high blood pressure, difficulty breathing, tremors, nose bleeds, back pain, inflammation of the skin, and nervous system and vision disturbances (which can include seizure and blindness). 

Back to natural alternatives: You can look up additional information on the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS)–an ongoing clinical trial sponsored by the National Eye Institute. AREDS has shown that vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, zinc, and copper, taken together, can help prevent AMD.

Over time, researchers began calling this combination of nutrients the “AREDS formula,” which is now being used as an AMD treatment.

The website for Macular Degeneration Research (a program of the American Health Assistance Foundation) states that the AREDS formula “may delay or prevent intermediate age-related macular degeneration from progressing to the advanced stage.”

So which would you rather try first: Lucentis, Avastin, or the AREDS formula? 

Here are the exact daily dosages used in AREDS:

  • Vitamin C–500 mg
  • Vitamin E–400 IU
  • Beta-carotene–15 mg
  • Zinc (as zinc oxide)–80 mg
  • Copper (as cupric oxide)–2 mg

I would also include two vision-friendly carotenoids that I’ve also mentioned many times: lutein and zeaxanthin.

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