New Study on Macular Degeneration Provides Hope

Royal Collette gets his eyes checked regularly at NIH’s National Eye Institute.

He was sent there several years ago after a doctor identified a problem. "I had an eye exam and my doctor, ophthalmologist said I had macular degeneration, never heard of the term. This was maybe seven years ago," he says.

Age related macular degeneration affects a person's central vision and over time, the vision may become blurry to the point where faces are no longer recognizable. "This disease is pretty relentless. If we can prevent the end stage from happening, you are much better off," Dr. Emily Chew, of the National Eye Institute says.

She is heading up a study to see if mega-doses of vitamins, minerals, and fish oil can slow the progression of the disease.
"The reason nutritional factors are wonderful to test is that we all eat this material and the question then is do we need larger doses."

This study builds on a previous research project called Areds One.

It showed a combination of vitamins C, E, beta carotene, zinc and copper could slow the progression of AMD. "In areds 1 we found people who ate fish just more than a serving a week, 2 servings a week, compared to people who never ate it, had a lower risk of macular degeneration. Same with lutene. You see it in green leafy vegetables, spinach, kale, collard greens," Dr. Chew explains.

Despite beging diagnosed with AMD years ago, Royal Collette can still see pretty well.

He has signed up for the new study with hopes that it will make a difference. "I think if you can contribute to whatever advancement their developing, why shouldn't I? I think it's a great opportunity."

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