AREDS2 – the New Standard for Eye Health

Age-related macular degeneration, also known as AMD, is a degenerative disease that causes increasing loss of central vision and is the leading cause of blindness for Caucasian Americans over the age of 40. This situation is only expected to become worse given the aging US population. In ages 50 and older, AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in the entire Western world.

Most people have heard of AREDS, Age-Related Eye Disease Study, for eye health. This major clinical trial was designed to evaluate the effect of high-dose antioxidant and zinc supplementation and its effects on the progression of AMD and cataracts. This study supported the positive benefits of supplements for AMD and while it’s viewed as a standard of care, the levels of zinc are quite high and the beta-carotene poses a problem for smokers. The National Eye Institute of the US National Institutes of Health initiated AREDS2, a multi-center randomized study designed to evaluate the effects of oral supplementation with high-dose lutein, zeaxanthin and/or omega-3 fatty acids for the treatment of AMD and cataract.

The objective of AREDS2 is met by collecting and assessing data on 4,000 AMD patients aged 50-85 years old. Patients are randomized into 4 possible treatment groups: 10 mg a day of FloraGlo® lutein and 2 mg of zeazanthin, 1 gram of omega-3 fatty acids, combined FloraGlo lutein/zeaxanthin/omega-3 or placebo. The patients will receive treatment and be assessed for 5 years. The main outcome to be measured is the rate of AMD progression in these individuals but other things such as cognitive function, development of cataracts, cardiovascular disease, general vision function as well as genetic risk factors to AMD will also be explored and reported upon.

The lutein used in AREDS2 is FloraGlo® lutein, which is sourced from marigold flowers and purified from marigold flower oleoresin. FloraGLO lutein is a patented-protected brand of lutein and naturally contains zeaxanthin. It is used in more clinical trials than any other lutein and has been shown to improve eye health and filter damaging blue light. In addition to its visual benefits, FloraGlo lutein has also demonstrated improvements upon skin health.