A recently completed study has shown that long-term daily intake of vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, and multivitamin supplements have no significant effect on prevention of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
For nearly a decade, a total of 14,641 US male physicians age 50 and older took various combinations of the supplements in dosages comparable to the AREDS formula. At the end of the study, 152 cases of AMD were reported in the multivitamin group compared to 129 cases in the group that did not take the supplements. The same study did, however, show that there was a significant decrease in the risk of cataract.
Though this appears to conflict with the AREDS results, it is important to remember that the AREDS formula was shown to slow the progression of AMD to the advanced wet form. As this study confirms, it has never been intended for preventative use. The recommended ways to prevent onset of AMD continue to be good diet, exercise, avoidance of tobacco smoking, weight control, and protection of the eyes from direct sunlight.