In 2001, researchers with the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) reported that a nutritional supplement called the AREDS formulation can reduce the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The original AREDS formula contains vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, zinc, and copper. The main conclusion of the study was that supplementation with the AREDS formulation decreases the rate of progression to advanced AMD by 25% at 5 years.

In 2006, researchers began a second study called AREDS2 to see if they could improve on the original AREDS formulation. They investigated the addition of omega-3 fatty acids as well as the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. The AREDS2 study found that omega-3 fatty acids did not have any beneficial effect. Lutein and zeaxanthin appeared to be a safe and effective alternative to beta-carotene, which is known to increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers.

The current recommended AREDS2 formulation is:

  • Copper 2 mg
  • Lutein 10 mg
  • Zeaxanthin 2 mg
  • Vitamin C 500 mg
  • Vitamin E 400 IU
  • Zinc 80 mg

Where can I get more information?

National Eye Institute

National Eye InstituteMore information on AREDS is available from the National Eye Institute,

American Academy of Ophthalmology's

You can also get trustworthy information from the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s partner Website: