Tag Archives: AREDS

AMD, Genetic Testing, and Supplements

Personalized Medicine, One Size Does Not Fit All

Personalized medicine  identifies an individual’s risk for a disease, like macular degeneration, to help health care providers  tailor  management and treatment to reduce the risk of development and/or progression of the disease. What is good medicine for one person may not be so good for another. Genetic testing is the first step to personalized medicine.

Studies for tImage result for dna genetic materialhe treatment of macular degeneration have yeilded a lot of data on AMD and its progression.  Chief among the studies was the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) which looked at the affect of vitamin supplementation for those at risk for age related macular degeneration (AMD) and those who had varying degrees of AMD. What they found is that some individuals responded well to vitamin supplementation and others did not respond as well.  Many groups of researchers have analyzed the data generated by the AREDS and its follow-up study AREDS 2.  The predictor of who goes on  AMD progression or wet AMD depends on 3 factors:

  • Current level of AMD,
  • Genetic Factors, and
  • Non-genetic factors (environmental, like general health, smokers, age, and education.)

There are presently two genetic tests available for macular degeneration : Macula Test PGX and Vita Test (Artic) .  These tests look at genetic markers on known AMD associated genes. The most significant finding, for why some did not do well with the AREDS supplement formula (13%), was a particular genetic profile that resulted in AMD progression, notably because of the zinc in the formula.  Genetic testing is a guide for those supplements that best helps reduce the risk for progression of the disease.  Armed with this information, an eye doctor would recommend the patient not take the AREDS formula with zinc.  This is personalized medicine.  Giving everyone the AREDS vitamin supplement does not benefit everyone the same.  Other genetic profiles do very well with the supplement.    Related image

While routine genetic testing is not  the standard of care at this time, it is an option.  Without genetic testing, doctors and patients do well by managing treatment and controlling health factors to decrease the progression of AMD.  A t this time, both of these genetic tests may not be covered by insurance plans. and must be ordered through your eye care provider.

 

 

 

Eye Vitamins: The Antioxidant Vitamin E

Vitamin E refers a group of fat soluble chemicals. While there are several forms, alpha- tocopherol is the form that the body recognizes as a nutrient. It is an important antioxidant to reduce the damage caused by free radicals and it is thought to help strengthen the immune system, blood, and cell membranes. Continue reading Eye Vitamins: The Antioxidant Vitamin E

Eye Vitamins: The Carotenoids

Vitamin A, Beta-carotene, Lutein, and Zeaxanthin

The category of  vitamin carotenoids is a vast group of biochemicals essential for biological function of immunity, cardiovascular health, cancer prevention, and vision.  We are concerned here only with the 4 known to be vital for the eye health and functioning. Those are bera-carotene, vitamin A (retinol), lutein, and zeaxanthin. Continue reading Eye Vitamins: The Carotenoids

Low Vision and Eye Vitamins

Those diagnosed with degenerative, hereditary, and progressive eye disease are looking for something or anything to help slow or halt the progression of their disease. Since the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) there has been an increase in the number of supplements labeled as “eye vitamins.” Interestingly, there are many different combinations of supplements. Some are labeled AREDS 2, indicating that the formula is similar to the study formula, others are labeled more obscurely like: Eye vitamins Plus, Premium, Gold, Maxi, Lutein, etc. If you flip the box over, and get a magnifier, you can read the names of the supplements’ and their dosages.  It is confusing at best. Continue reading Low Vision and Eye Vitamins