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Multivitamin-multimineral supplements and eye disease: age-related macular degeneration and cataract1,2,3,4

The prevalence and effects of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataract are increasing dramatically as the proportion of elderly in our population continues to rise. A multivitamin-multimineral supplement with a combination of vitamin C, vitamin E, β-carotene, and zinc (with cupric oxide) is recommended for AMD but not cataract. Weak support exists for multivitamins or other vitamin supplements from observational studies of cataract. The results of observational studies suggest that a healthy lifestyle with a diet containing foods rich in antioxidants, particularly lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as n–3 fatty acids, appears beneficial for AMD and possibly cataract. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study II will evaluate some of these additional nutrients as dietary supplements in a randomized trial.