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Nutrition, Genes, and Age-Related Macular Degeneration: What Have We Learned From the Trials?


Nutrition, Genes, and Age-Related Macular Degeneration: What Have We Learned From the Trials?

Emily Y Chew. Ophthalmologica.


The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) and AREDS2 provided evidence for treating persons with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) with antioxidant vitamins and minerals to reduce the risk of development of late AMD. The AREDS2 data suggest that the beta-carotene in the original AREDS supplements be replaced by lutein and zeaxanthin, providing a safer drug for those who are smokers or former smokers. Even though consuming fish reduced the risk of AMD in observational studies, the AREDS2 results showed that omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (docosahexaenoic acid/eicosapentaenoic acid) had no beneficial effect on AMD. Despite the major progress in the discovery of gene variants associated with AMD, the use of genetic testing to predict disease has not been clinically useful. The use of genetic testing prior to AMD therapies such as administering AREDS supplements is not recommended by the American Academy of Ophthalmology and other organizations.

Keywords: Age-related macular degeneration; Clinical trials; Genetics.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflicts of interest: While Emily Chew has no personal financial disclosures, the National Institutes of Health holds a royal bearing license issued to Bausch and Lomb for the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) Supplement.

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    DeAngelis MM, Owen LA, Morrison MA, Morgan DJ, Li M, Shakoor A, Vitale A, Iyengar S, Stambolian D, Kim IK, Farrer LA. DeAngelis MM, et al. Hum Mol Genet. 2017 Aug 1;26(R1):R45-R50. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddx228. Hum Mol Genet. 2017. PMID: 28854576 Free PMC article. Review.

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