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What is the treatment plan for macular degeneration?

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As of 2015, doctors haven’t developed treatments for early-stage macular degeneration, and many people don’t have symptoms, the National Eye Institute states. Since this condition has no cure, doctors may recommend a formula of vitamins and trace minerals to slow the progression of vision loss during the intermediate and late stages. The formula includes 500 milligrams of vitamin C, 80 milligrams of zinc, 400 international units of vitamin E, 2 milligrams of copper and 15 milligrams of beta-carotene.

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The National Eye Institute developed treatment for macular degeneration in a series of clinical trials, known as the Age-Related Eye Disease Studies, or AREDS and AREDS2, according to the National Eye Institute. The AREDS trial provided evidence that the vitamin and mineral formula lowers the risk of late-stage macular degeneration by 25 percent. AREDS2 showed that substituting 10 milligrams of lutein and 2 milligrams of zeaxanthin for beta-carotene may increase the effectiveness of the treatment. Doctors sometimes suggest AREDS2 treatment for smokers because research suggests beta-carotene increases the risk of developing lung cancer.

Macular degeneration is the ongoing deterioration of the macula, the central section of the retina that helps the eye focus and recognize details, the American Macular Degeneration Foundation explains. The condition is most commonly age-related, but heredity and environmental factors play a role. Doctors recommend preventative measures, such as abstaining from smoking, exercising and protecting the eyes from UV light, to avoid the onset of macular degeneration.

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