The age-related eye disease study: the results of the clinical trial

Insight. Jan-Mar 2002;27(1):5-7.


The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) is a multi-center study sponsored by the National Eye Institute to determine the natural history and risk factors associated with both cataract and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AREDS incorporated a clinical trial to determine what role micro nutrients may play in the development and progression of cataracts and AMD. The micro nutrients studied were the antioxidants vitamins E,C, beta-carotene and zinc with copper. Participants were randomized to either antioxidants, mineral, a combination of antioxidants and minerals or placebo. The participants were categorized, by the presence of drusen and diagnosis of AMD into one of four groups: no AMD, early AMD, intermediate AMD or advanced AMD. They were followed for an average of 6.3 years. There was no statistically significant difference in the cataract trial between treatment and placebo. In the AMD trial groups, those at high risk of developing advanced AMD lowered their risk by about 25% when treated with the mega dosages of the combination of antioxidants and minerals.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Age Factors
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Ascorbic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Cataract / epidemiology
  • Cataract / etiology*
  • Cataract / prevention & control*
  • Copper / deficiency
  • Copper / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Progression
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration / diagnosis
  • Macular Degeneration / epidemiology
  • Macular Degeneration / etiology*
  • Macular Degeneration / prevention & control*
  • Micronutrients / therapeutic use*
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Trace Elements / deficiency
  • Trace Elements / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vitamin E / therapeutic use*
  • Zinc / deficiency
  • Zinc / therapeutic use*
  • beta Carotene / deficiency
  • beta Carotene / therapeutic use*


  • Antioxidants
  • Micronutrients
  • Trace Elements
  • beta Carotene
  • Vitamin E
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Ascorbic Acid