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November 2003

AREDS—Two Years Later

Arch Ophthalmol. 2003;121(11):1634-1636. doi:10.1001/archopht.121.11.1634

IT HAS been 2 years since the October 2001 issue of Archives of Ophthalmology reported the main treatment outcomes of the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS).1,2 The current issue of the ARCHIVES contains an analysis of the public health effects of AREDS3; it estimates the number of people in the United States who should benefit from the use of the AREDS supplement. The article calculates that 8 million people 55 years and older in the United States have monocular or binocular intermediate age-related macular degeneration(AMD) or monocular advanced AMD, which places them at considerable risk for progression to advanced AMD. In a 5-year period, 1.3 million of these people would be expected to develop advanced AMD if no treatment were given. If the AREDS formulation were used by these individuals, the authors calculate that approximately 329 000 patients would avoid advanced AMD and its visual loss during this 5-year period. Although the authors make a series of assumptions, their conclusions appear reasonable. In this editorial, I discuss the availability of appropriate AREDS formulations for our patients, guess the number of patients who are properly taking the preparation, comment on other nutritional additives that might be of benefit in these patients, further comment on the value of vitamins for cancer and cardiovascular disease, and update potential adverse effects of the vitamins and elements in use.

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