Nutritional supplements were associated with a reduced risk of progressive neovascular age-related macular degeneration, according to the Age-Related Eye Disease Study; however, the supplements did not reduce the risk of geographic atrophy.
AREDS included 4,757 patients; 3,549 patients took part in an epidemiologic follow-up study, which reported 10-year outcomes. The study featured a formulation comprising 500 mg of vitamin C, 400 IU of vitamin E, 15 mg of beta-carotene, 80 mg of zinc and 2 mg of copper.
Patients participating in AREDS were randomly assigned to one of four treatment groups: placebo, zinc, antioxidants or antioxidants plus zinc.
Patients were also assigned to one of four categories: category 1 (no AMD with small drusen); category 2 (early AMD with small or intermediate drusen, pigment abnormalities or a combination of both); category 3 (no advanced AMD but one or more large drusen, extensive area of intermediate drusen or geographic atrophy not involving the center of the macula); and category 4 (advanced AMD, central geographic atrophy or neovascular AMD in one eye).
Patients assigned to the placebo group in categories 3 and 4 had a significantly higher risk of developing advanced AMD or neovascular AMD than those assigned to the AREDS formulation (P < .001).
The risk of developing central geographic atrophy was not reduced significantly. Moderate vision loss was reduced significantly (P = .002).
Disclosure: The study was supported in part by the National Eye Institute/National Institutes of Health. The study authors report no relevant financial disclosures.