Age-related Macular Degeneration

Introduction
Age-related macular degeneration, often called “AMD,” is a disease that causes vision loss. It mostly affects your central vision, so that things in the center look blurry. It is most common among people age 65 and older.

Can AMD be prevented?
You can reduce your chances of getting AMD by not smoking, or by quitting if you already smoke. If you already have AMD and you smoke, quitting can actually help slow the disease.

What are the treatment options for AMD?
If you have been diagnosed with AMD, it can be treated with a special combination of vitamins and minerals, called the “AREDS formula.” This formula seems to protect the eye from the damage caused by AMD. It is sold without a prescription, but it is important to ask your doctor or nurse before you start taking it. Certain vitamins can be harmful if you take them in the wrong amounts, and people who smoke can have serious problems if they take some vitamins.

Which treatment for AMD should I take if I am a dialysis patient?
Vitamin A and beta carotene are important for good vision. They are a key component of the “AREDS” vitamins used to treat AMD. Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin and it is usually elevated in dialysis patients. It is not removed by dialysis and can build up and lead to problems. Too much vitamin A can cause high serum calcium, liver problems, high triglycerides, or anemia in kidney patients. Therefore kidney patients should avoid supplements with vitamin A or beta carotene but many AMD vitamins have excessively high amounts of them.

Fortunately, there are certain formulations that contain less or no beta carotene. These formulations include Vitalux® -S and AREDS 2 Formula and they may be better options for dialysis patients.

Below is a table of the beta carotene content in various types of Vitalux® vitamins.

BRAND/ FORMULATION

BETA CAROTENE  AMOUNT

Vitalux ®- S plus OMEGA-3

NONE

Vitalux®- S 

NONE

AREDS 2 Formula

NONE

Vitalux® Healthy Eyes 

1500 ug

Vitalux® plus OMEGA-3

1432 ug

Vitalux® AREDS

2864 ug

Vitalux® Timed Release

3000 ug

When to see a Doctor
If you notice vision loss or any of the other symptoms listed above, see an eye doctor as soon as possible.

Joey Chen, BSc.Phm and Séadna Ledger BSc.Phm (May 2013)


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Last Updated February 23, 2014 | © 2007, LHSC, London Ontario Canada