The Retina Reference

AMD and Ocuvite

I am a 68 year old female and was diagnosed with Macular Degeneration (dry) about 8 years ago. At that time it was suggested that I take a supplementary multivitamin, such as Ocuvite. I have been taking these vitamins every day since then and my eyes have had very little change, which I am very thankful for. My question is that since I was a smoker for forty years and quit in 1985, do you still think, I should stop taking these vitamins? I am in good health and am afraid if I stop taking these vitamins, I will lose my eyesight at a faster rate. An opinion would be very much appreciated.


There is a suspicion based on data in the medical literature that the high dose of beta carotene in Ocuvite may increase the risk of lung cancer in former and current smokers. For this reason, most retina specialists would recommend that you take the Ocuvite version without beta carotene (such as Ocuvite with lutein). There are other versions of the same thing made by other companies. The constitutents that are recommended in your case are vitamins C, E, and zinc. There is very little reason to believe that leaving out the large dose of beta carotene will accelerate your course of macular degeneration. In the Age Related Eye Disease Study, which proved the usefulness of vitamins in slowing down dry macular degeneration, almost as much benefit was obtained with a zinc supplement alone as with the combination of vitamins C, E, beta carotene, and zinc. More information on vitamins and retinal disease is contained under the heading Information.