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Question:
My mother is 90 and has macular degeneration. I am 58, should I be taking any special supplements? I've heard of the AREDS formula, but I'm concerned about the excess of Vitamins A, C, and E. Also, can I still take a multivitamin for general health?  

Answer:
Having a close family relative with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) does put you at higher risk for developing the disease yourself. You would benefit from an eye retinal exam to be certain that you don't have macular degeneration. The Age-Related Disease Study (AREDS) formula is a specific, high-potency supplement that may slow progression in people with intermediate or early-advanced AMD. However, it is not recommended for people who have not been diagnosed with AMD. You can continue to take a multivitamin for your general health, if you wish. Studies have found that eating fruits and deeply colored vegetables such as red peppers, kale, and spinach—sources of antioxidants—provides many health benefits, and one is likely to be a reduced risk of AMD. Also, if you smoke, you should quit, because smoking can damage your eyes as well as many other parts of your body. Just as important are regular visits to an ophthalmologist, who can monitor your eye health and detect any signs of eye disease early on, should it develop. As with any disease, the sooner your doctor can intervene, the better your chances for a good outcome.

Answered by: Abdhish Bhavsar, MDDr. Abdhish Bhavsar

Categories: Eye Diseases, General Eye Health

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Answered: Nov 23, 2010

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