Macular Degeneration: Are Your Eye Vitamins Making It Worse?

by Ryan Robison, O.D.

There are two common questions we hear. Do I have macular degeneration? Should I take an eye vitamin? Both questions are valid since AMD (Age-Related Macular Degeneration) is the leading cause of blindness in people over 60 years of age in the U.S.

Answering the first question can be as easy as looking inside the eye. However, one study found that 25.0% of eyes deemed “normal” actually had macular degeneration that was discovered by fundus photography and specialists. So, we use multiple tests to measure macular health, including digital fundus photography, macular thickness, retinal stimulation strength and speed, and color perception. These tests allow us to monitor for subtle changes.

Answering the second question can be tricky. Some studies show vitamins can help reduce AMD progression and other studies show they don’t make a difference. So, you might get conflicting answers from a survey of eye doctors. However, most will advocate that being proactive is the safe approach and when it comes to your eyes we don’t want to take chances.

Some key ingredients that all eye vitamins will have are Lutein and Zeaxanthin. Amounts may differ by brand but generally 10mg of Lutein and 2mg of Zeaxanthin are recommended. Zinc is another common ingredient that was included in a study called AREDS2 and is beneficial in most patients. The recommended daily dose of zinc is 15 mg but many supplements for AMD have up to 80 mg. Depending on your genetic profile this amount of zinc may actually cause your AMD to get worse. We now have the ability to run a simple genetic test to see which risk category you fall into to help determine which supplement will be the most effective for you. Fortunately, there is an eye vitamin which works great providing the key ingredients without zinc that we offer as well. Early detection and early treatment is our goal.

Schedule your appointment today and let us help you keep your future bright. Call us at 435-673-5577 or go to