Antioxidant supplements effective and affordable option for wet macular degeneration

Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension.

August 28 2017. An article that appeared on August 23, 2017 in the British Journal of Ophthalmology concluded that supplementing with antioxidant nutrients is effective and affordable for individuals with neovascular (“wet”) age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The wet form of AMD is characterized by the growth of abnormal blood vessels under the retina that can leak and damage the eyes’ macula, which is responsible for central vision.

For the current study, Adnan Tufail of Moorfields Eye Hospital National Health Service Trust in London and colleagues sought to evaluate the cost effectiveness of two supplement formulas used in the Age Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) among patients with intermediate (AREDS category 3) age-related macular degeneration in both eyes or neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AREDS category 4) in one eye. One supplement contained vitamins C and E, zinc, copper and beta carotene; the second contained vitamins C and E, zinc, copper, lutein and zeaxanthin.

Their analysis determined that both formulas are cost effective for treating patients with early stage wet AMD, and were most cost effective for those with the condition in one eye. Patients who received the nutrients would need almost 8 fewer injections of currently used anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) therapies, which are costly and associated with potential side effects. Treated patients would also experience an increase in quality-adjusted life years compared to untreated patients.

“Given the burden and cost of treatment, prevention of neovascular AMD seems, therefore, an attractive strategy to avoid the chronic and costly anti-VEGF therapies and preserve visual function,” the authors write.  “AREDS supplements are a dominant cost-effective intervention for category 4 AREDS patients, as they are both less expensive than standard care and more effective, and therefore should be considered for public funding.”

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