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The AREDS Studies Are Changing How People Prevent Vision Loss


Dry eyes A recent survey shows that baby boomers rank vision as the most important of the five senses. It also uncovered something that’s very disturbing.

It turned out that more than half of the people taking the survey had no idea that certain nutrients could help prevent vision loss.

Thankfully, the two most famous eye studies on vision health are changing all of that.  These are known as the Age-Related Disease Studies (AREDS1 and AREDS2).

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7 Nutrients That Can Save Your Eyesight

In AREDS1, scientists discovered that certain antioxidants can help protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading causes of vision loss.

Specifically, a high-dose combination of vitamin C (500 mg), vitamin E (400 IU), beta-carotene (15 mg) and zinc (80 mg) cut the risk of AMD by about 25% in high risk patients. And in those with intermediate or advanced AMD, this same cocktail reduced AMD-related vision loss by about 19%.

Not long after the completion of this study, the scientists wanted to see if they could improve the formula.

With this in mind, they zeroed in on the effects of adding lutein (10 mg) and zeaxanthin (2 mg), omega-3 fatty acids (1 g), or a combination of all three to the formula.

The results were similar to those in the first study. However, the people who weren’t getting enough lutein and zeaxanthin in their diet gained additional protection against AMD and the development of cataracts.

Previous research confirms that people with the highest serum levels of lutein and zeaxanthin are less likely to develop these two eye conditions. Additionally, both of these super-antioxidants are known to improve the density of macular pigment. So these results make a great deal of sense.

Eat Your Way to Healthier Vision

Getting more eye-healthy food in your diet is an easy thing to do. Just add more antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies from all colors of the rainbow to your diet.

To help you get started here are a few foods that are high in the nutrients found in the AREDS formulas:

  • Vitamin C: citrus fruits, red and green peppers, leafy greens, tomatoes and berries
  • Vitamin E: almonds, avocadoes, spinach, sweet potatoes, olive oil and sunflower seeds
  • Beta-Carotene: sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, cantaloupe and dark leafy greens
  • Zinc: cooked oysters, beef, lamb, chickpeas and pumpkin seeds
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin: dark leafy greens, orange bell peppers, squash, zucchini and eggs
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines


Rasmussen, HM et al. Nutrients for the aging eye. Clin Interv Aging. 2013; 8: 741–748.

Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group. A randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial of high-dose supplementation with vitamins C and E, beta carotene, and zinc for age-related macular degeneration and vision loss: AREDS report no. 8. Arch Ophthalmol. 2001 Oct;119(10):1417-36.

Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 Research Group. Lutein + zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids for age-related macular degeneration: the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) randomized clinical trial. JAMA. 2013 May 15;309(19):2005-15.

Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 Research Group. Lutein/zeaxanthin for the treatment of age-related cataract: AREDS2 randomized trial report no. 4. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2013 Jul;131(7):843-50.

Johnson EJ, et al. The influence of supplemental lutein and docosahexaenoic acid on serum, lipoproteins, and macular pigmentation. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 May;87(5):1521-9.

Delcourt C, et al. Plasma lutein and zeaxanthin and other carotenoids as modifiable risk factors for age-related maculopathy and cataract: the POLA Study. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2006 Jun;47(6):2329-35.

Dana Nicholas is a freelance writer and researcher in the field of natural and alternative healing. She has over 20 years of experience working with many noted health authors and anti-aging professionals, including James Balch, M.D., Dr. Linda Page, “Amazon” John Easterling and Al Sears M.D. Dana’s goal is to keep you up-to-date on information, news and breakthroughs that can have a direct impact on your health, your quality of life… and your lifespan. “I’m absolutely convinced that America’s misguided trust in mainstream medicine – including reliance on the government to regulate our food and medicine supply – is killing us, slowly but surely,” she cautions. “By sharing what I’ve learned throughout the years I hope I can empower others to take control over their own health.”

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