AREDS2: Insights Into Optimal Supplements for AMD

Charles C. Wykoff, MD, PhD


May 20, 2013

In This Article

AMD: The Leading Cause of Vision Loss

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in adults in the developed world.[1] AMD is a progressive disease, the prevalence of which increases with age, affecting about 25% by 80 years of age.[2] As life expectancies continue to lengthen, the AMD patient population will similarly expand.

AMD is defined by 2 distinct pathologies: dry and wet. These often coexist, and patients can develop visual impairment from either form.[2,3] In their advanced states, atrophic (dry) AMD is characterized by geographic atrophy of the outer retina, whereas neovascular (wet) AMD is characterized by pathologic angiogenesis with abnormal growth of blood vessels under and into the neurosensory retina. Approximately 2 million Americans have advanced AMD, and an additional 8 million are at risk of developing it.[2]

Given its high prevalence and potentially devastating impact on vision, much work has been dedicated to the identification of modifiable risk factors that influence the development of advanced AMD. Such risk factors include smoking, cardiovascular risk factors, and diet. Smoking has been strongly associated with the development of AMD in multiple epidemiologic analyses.[4] Furthermore, fish consumption and other dietary modifications, as well as lifestyle habits, may affect the AMD risk profile.[5,6,7]