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Understanding Vitamins for AMD

Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS)

In 2001, Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) researchers reported that a vitamin supplement called the AREDS formulation could reduce the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

In 2006, the same research group, based at National Institute of Health’s National Eye Institute, began a second study called AREDS2. They wanted to determine if they could improve the AREDS formulation. They tested the following: adding antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids, removing beta-carotene, and lowering the dose of zinc.

AREDS 1

What is the original AREDS vitamin formulation?
-500 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C
-400 international units of vitamin E
-80 mg zinc as zinc oxide
-15 mg beta-carotene
-2 mg copper as cupric oxide

AREDS2

What modifications were tested in AREDS2 vitamins?
-10 mg lutein and 2 mg zeaxanthin
-1000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids (350 mg DHA and 650 mg EPA)
-25 mg zinc
No beta-carotene

Why did they change the AREDS2 formulation? Why add lutein/zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids? Previous studies had found that dietary intake of lutein/zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids is associated with a lower risk of developing advanced AMD.

Why eliminate beta-carotene? During the AREDS trial, two large trials funded by the National Cancer Institute found that beta-carotene may increase lung cancer risk among people who smoke. Lutein and zeaxanthin are in the same family of nutrients as beta-carotene and are believed to have important functions in the retina. Therefore, the researchers theorized that lutein/zeaxanthin might be a safer and possibly more effective alternative than beta-carotene.

Why reduce the vitamin zinc? Although zinc was found to be an essential component of the AREDS formulation in the original trial, some nutritional experts recommended a lower dose.

You can buy AREDS2 formula eye vitamins at all of The Optical Gallery locations at The Eye Associates.

Vision Loss and Falls

Poor vision can have many adverse effects, such as depression, car accidents, and medication errors, but none of these are more concerning than falls. Falls are among the leading cause of death in age 65+. People with low vision are twice as likely to fall than those with good vision.

The Impact of Falls

Some visual factors that impact falls are:

  • Reduced field of vision caused by eye diseases such as Glaucoma, Macular Degeneration and Diabetic Retinopathy. Object that cannot be seen are a common cause of falls.
  • Reduced depth perception – People with vision in just one eye may have problems judging distances, making it more dangerous to negotiate obstacles.
  • Reduced contrast sensitivity can make obstacles and clutter hard to see. Curbs become nearly invisible and many objects can fade into the background.

Increased safety is one of the most compelling reasons to have an annual eye exam. The key to keeping good vision starts with the early detection and treatment.

Call 1-866-865-2020 or click here for a comprehensive eye exam with one of our award winning doctors.

Dark skin people need skin cancer checks too!

Dark skin people can have skin cancer too.

 Dark skin people can have skin cancer too.

According to SkinCancer.org, here are some statistics that you should keep in mind, no matter what your skin color.

-Melanomas in African Americans, Asians, Filipinos, Indonesians and Hawaiians most often occur on non-exposed skin with less pigment. These melanomas are often discovered on the palms, soles, mucous membranes and nail regions.

-Skin cancer represents 1 to 2 % of all cancers in African Americans and jumps to 2 to 4 % in Asians.

-While melanoma is more uncommon in African Americans, Latinos, and Asians, it is frequently fatal for these ethnicities. Late-stage melanoma diagnoses are more prevalent among these patients than Caucasian patients, resulting in the 5 year melanoma survival rate for African Americans being only 77 % when compare to 91 % for Caucasians.
All skin types should always apply sunscreen 30 minutes before they go out into the sun, and then reapply every 2 hours. Of course, if you sweat or go in the water, it is necessary to reapply more often. Avoid peak burn hours from 10 AM to 4 PM. Clothing, unless specifically treated for sun protection, is not enough to give you the sun protection needed. Be safe by wearing sunscreen.

What to do next!

Click here to make an appointment our Board Certified Dermatologist, Dr. Paul Stevenson, or call 1-877-816-DERM (3376).

Melanoma – A Mole Gone Bad

The quickest way to explain melanoma is to simply say that it is a mole that has gone bad. It is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. According to SkinCancer.org, everyone is at some risk for melanoma. Those with a family or personal history, lighter skin color, a weakened immune system, and excessive moles are at an even higher risk.

And melanoma is on the rise! The good news is that melanoma is almost always curable AS LONG AS IT IS TREATED EARLY. What does that mean to you? You need to get a yearly skin check as well as keep an eye on your own skin for any signs of skin cancer.

Look out for the ABCDEs of melanoma.

A for Asymmetry

If you were to draw a line through the middle of the mole and the 2 sides don’t match, then you should have it checked immediately.

B is for Border

If the borders are not smooth, have it checked.

C is for Color

If the is an unusual color, you should have it checked.

D is for Diameter

If the diameter of the mole is larger than a pencil eraser, it could be melanoma…even though some melanomas can be small.

E is for Evolving  Keep a watch on your moles and if you see it changing in any way, or if it starts to bleed, make an appointment.

No one likes to go to the doctor and especially if it is for something scary like melanoma. We also hate to waste our money. What if it is ‘nothing’. It is better to have wasted an appointment for a ‘perfectly normal’ mole than to miss catching this deadly cancer early. Click here or call 1-877-816-DERM (3376) for an appointment.

NOTE: You will be seeing Doctor; not a PA or NP.