What Is AREDS2: A Look Into the Research Behind the Ultimate Eye Vitamins

What Is AREDS2

Key Takeaways:

  • AREDS2 is a follow-up to the clinical research of the same name that produced the eye vitamin formula to lower the risks of age-related macular degeneration.
  • The key difference between the AREDS and AREDS2 formulas is removing beta-carotene and adding lutein and zeaxanthin.
  • From the 10-year AREDS2 clinical trials, observational data suggest that the new formula is more effective in slowing down the progression of age-related macular degeneration.


Eye health is one of the things that is inevitably affected by age. Among the eye diseases out there, age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is one of the most common causes of vision impairment in older individuals. Fortunately, findings from AREDS2 research have provided more information on managing age-related eye conditions.

Keep reading to discover what eye vitamins exhibited the most promising benefits from these studies and how you can get them.


What Is AREDS2 and What Do the AREDS Studies Mean?


What Is AREDS2


The Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2, or AREDS 2, is a follow-up to the clinical research of the same name that involved major clinical trials backed by the NIH National Eye Institute.

AREDS trials aimed to expand our understanding of the risk factors of common eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

Another crucial aspect of these studies was determining which eye vitamins are most beneficial in slowing down the progression of these eye health conditions.

These studies led to the initial AREDS formula consisting of:

  • Vitamin C – 500 mg
  • Vitamin E – 400 IU
  • Beta-carotene – 15 mg
  • Copper (cupric oxide) – 2 mg
  • Zinc – 80 mg

AREDS report taken from the five-year trial revealed that this formula helped lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration by up to 25%.

However, there have been findings of increased lung cancer incidence in smokers who consume beta-carotene supplements. So, a major part of the AREDS2 trial was to find supplements that could replace beta-carotene.

The AREDS2 trial was successful in doing that after finding that a lutein/zeaxanthin formula, replacing beta-carotene, was also effective without increasing lung cancer risks.


What Are AREDS2 Supplements: Nutrients in the AREDS 2 Formula


The AREDS2 trial investigated whether a formula with lutein and zeaxanthin — without beta-carotene — will be effective against age-related macular degeneration.

The formula for AREDS2 supplements includes:

  • Vitamin C – 500 mg
  • Vitamin E – 400 IU
  • Copper (cupric oxide) – 2 mg
  • Lutein – 10 mg
  • Zeaxanthin – 2 mg
  • Zinc – 80 mg

The 10-year trial period for AREDS2 revealed that the lutein zeaxanthin formula was more effective in reducing the risks of progression of age-related macular degeneration.

Researchers also noted there was no statistically significant increased risk of developing lung cancer for participants with a history of smoking with the lutein/zeaxanthin formula.

Amazing results were also observed in participants from the original AREDS trial who were included in the AREDS2 studies. After taking the formula with lutein/zeaxanthin carotenoids, their reduced risk of advancing to late AMD was improved by 20%.


What Is Macular Degeneration?


elderly with Macular Degeneration


Does it lead to blindness?

Macular degeneration, or age-related macular degeneration, happens when there is damage in the central part of the retina called the macula.

It’s still unclear what causes age-related macular degeneration, although age is a major risk factor. The eye disease is commonly observed in older people, particularly above the age of 50.

Available evidence suggests that age-related macular degeneration doesn’t necessarily lead to complete blindness. Since it mainly affects the central vision, the eye disease can make it more challenging to perform simple daily tasks such as driving, reading, and recognizing faces.


Types of Age-Related Macular Degeneration


  • Dry AMD or atrophic AMD: Mainly caused by drusen buildup under the macula. Progression can take years, going through early, intermediate, and late stages. There’s no known treatment yet, especially for late dry AMD.
  • Wet AMD or advanced neovascular AMD: This happens with the growth of abnormal blood vessels under the macula. Dry AMD can develop into wet or advanced AMD, but the latter is often a severe condition and quickly causes central vision loss.


Wet age-related macular degeneration can’t be fixed but can be managed with eye injections or photodynamic therapy. These treatments may help delay the progression of wet AMD and preserve your remaining central vision.

Another tricky aspect of age-related macular degeneration is that early dry AMD doesn’t usually have symptoms. Even as the condition advances to the intermediate stage, in most cases, the symptoms could include blurry vision, reduced visual acuity, and difficulty seeing in low-light conditions.

The more alarming symptoms may not be more apparent until the late stage, or it has developed into wet AMD.

At this point, you might notice more blurriness or blank spots in your central vision. Straight lines could also appear crooked or wavy, although this shouldn’t be confused with eye floaters.


What Are Eye Floaters?


Floaters appear as dots, specks, or lines that could block a part of your vision from time to time. While it’s common in older people, experts have yet to establish a link between eye floaters and macular degeneration.


Is AREDS2 Multivitamin for You?


Both AREDS and AREDS2 formulations have demonstrated promising effects in delaying the progression of age-related macular degeneration. Studies also found that AREDS and AREDS 2 vitamins most benefit individuals with intermediate and late age-related macular degeneration.

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with intermediate or late macular degeneration, it’s best to talk to your healthcare provider about incorporating AREDS2 supplements into your eye health regimen.

As promising as the benefits of AREDS2 supplements are, the research groups also pointed out some limitations. The trials investigated whether AREDS and AREDS2 formulas would provide favorable outcomes for people with early AMD and those who weren’t diagnosed with AMD.

However, the trials revealed no significant benefits for people with early AMD and those without AMD. In the case of the latter, researchers have also reiterated that the formulas shouldn’t be viewed as preventative supplements for age-related macular degeneration.


Why Choose AREDS2 vs AREDS?


While the original AREDS formula effectively delayed AMD progression at certain stages, there have been concerns about its beta-carotene content. Multiple studies confirmed that former and current smokers are at a high risk of developing lung cancer after taking beta-carotene supplements.

The original AREDS formula, which contains beta carotene as a source of dietary carotenoid, isn’t the best option if you used to or are still smoking.

Don’t worry, you may still be able to try these eye vitamins, thanks to the development of the AREDS2 formula. Here, lutein/zeaxanthin replaced beta-carotene, and it’s also found effective for patients with certain stages of AMD.


Where to Find AREDS2 Vitamins?


Where to Find AREDS2 Vitamins?


Dietary supplements using the AREDS2 formula are available online and from local pharmacists. And, yes, these are over-the-counter supplements, so they should also be easy to purchase.

But when buying an AREDS2 supplement, read the label and only purchase from reliable manufacturers. Check if the packaging has an “AREDS 2” label, then double-check the ingredients list to see if it has all the vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids in the AREDS 2 formula.

Ensuring that you are buying AREDS2 supplements is even more important if you have a history of smoking. So don’t forget to read the label!


iGenics by ScienceGenics: Vegan, Non-GMO AREDS2 Dietary Supplement


Looking for an AREDS2 supplement? Look no further because iGenics by ScienceGenics is one of the best choices!

iGenics contains all the components for eye health in AREDS2 — vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, copper, lutein, and zeaxanthin. You can’t go wrong with this one if you need a dietary supplement with research-backed ingredients.

The potential benefits of taking iGenics don’t stop there. What separates iGenics from other eye health supplements is it contains an array of antioxidant-rich natural ingredients, including saffron, bilberry extract, ginkgo biloba, turmeric, and black pepper.

Adding iGenics to your regimen means more than taking care of your eyes. With its added healthy, natural ingredients, you may also enjoy skin, hair, muscles, and joint support benefits. Don’t miss out on these for a healthier you.


Enjoy Healthy Eyes As You Age — Take AREDS 2 Eye Vitamins


We still have a long way to go to find a permanent fix for age-related eye disease. However, thanks to studies like AREDS2, you’re not completely defenseless against common eye diseases like macular degeneration.

With the right eye health support and high-quality dietary supplements, you have a bigger chance of seeing clear, bright days ahead.


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John Riedl

Simply put that’s why I’ve gone down the health journey of research and creating health brands.

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