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Vitamin E Supplement Fights Eye Disease; Green Vegetable Diet 'Difficult to Achieve'

  [ 18 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • June 7, 2002

NEW YORK, May 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The high levels of nutrients needed to
combat age-related macular degeneration "are very difficult to achieve from
diet alone," but a formulation containing Vitamin E can lower the risk of
vision loss, a New York Times special supplement reports.

The 10-page advertising section of the Times magazine, called "From Cause
to Cure," examines eye health, particularly macular degeneration, which is the
leading cause of vision loss in people over 60.

A new study on macular degeneration found that taking a supplement
containing antioxidants Vitamin E and Vitamin C, with beta carotene and small
amounts of zinc and copper, can "significantly reduce the risk of age-related
macular degeneration (AMD) and its associated vision loss," the article

Dr. Frederick Ferris, director of clinical research at the National Eye
Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, was chairman of the
study and said: "Previous studies have suggested that people who consume a
diet rich in green, leafy vegetables have a lower risk of developing AMD.
However, the high levels of nutrients that were evaluated in the study are
very difficult to achieve from diet alone."

Dr. Ferris said that although two-thirds of the study participants took a
daily multivitamin in addition to their assigned treatment of vitamins and
minerals, the study found that those at high risk of developing advanced AMD
could lower that risk by taking the formulation of vitamins and minerals,
including 400 international units (IU) of Vitamin E daily.

Currently, treatment for age-related macular degeneration is limited, and
researchers believe the new study shows promise to "delay progression in those
at high risk."

Macular degeneration cases are expected to double by the year 2020, health
authorities say, as the generation of "baby boomers" -- persons born between
1946 and 1964 -- ages. The eye disorder is believed to affect almost 30
percent of people over age 75.

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