Vitamins combat age-related blindness

November 12, 2003 in Nutrition for Older Adults, Nutrition Topics in the News, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements

Vitamins combat age-related blindness
Hundreds of thousands of people could benefit from vitamin supplements shown to help prevent macular degeneration, a condition that is the leading cause of blindness from age 65. In 2001, researchers reported they had found a lower risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration and vision loss for study participants who had been given high-dose antioxidant supplements - vitamins C, E and beta-carotene - as well as zinc or zinc oxide.

In this week�s report, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore estimate how many people in the United States alone would benefit from increasing supplement use. They conclude there are 8 million Americans at least 55 years old thought to be at high risk for macular degeneration. If all the people at risk took the supplements used in the earlier study, more than 300,000 of them would avoid advanced macular degeneration and any associated vision loss during the next five years, the study found.

In an editorial commenting on the study, experts said the supplements should be used \"only in patients with intermediate or advanced age-related macular degeneration.\" They added it appears appropriate to eat a diet rich in fruits and (especially green) vegetables, to supplement with a multivitamin and to undergo periodic ophthalmic examinations for the development of the condition.

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