Macular degeneration, or MD, is a change in the retina which affects the center portion of a person’s vision. People with MD describe objects as distorted, smudged, or blurred. These changes are associated with aging and are typically found in patients over 65 years of age. Macular degeneration is classically categorized as either “wet” or “dry”. Wet MD can cause severe vision loss, whereas dry MD tends to be more benign.
Patients with wet MD can benefit from treatment by ophthalmologists. However, there is no effective treatment for dry MD. Recently, there has been alot of discussion about the benefits of multivitamins and minerals for MD. In October of 2001 a study released its results about the effect of multivitamins on MD. The study found that a combination of vitamins A, C, E, and zinc and copper may “slow the rate of progress” of dry MD. The supplements do not prevent MD, but may be helpful in delaying the effects of MD. As a note of caution, vitamin A may be harmful for patients who smoke tobacco. If you are affected by MD, it is best to check with your eye care professional to see if vitamin and mineral supplements are a good idea for you.