PURPOSE. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) is a large multicenter study of the natural course and clinical prognosis of age-related cataract and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
METHOD. Eleven retinal specialty clinics enrolled 4,757 participants age 55 to 80 years from November 1992 through January 1998. Within the context of a natural study is a controlled clinical trial of antioxidants (C, E, and beta-carotene) and minerals (zinc and copper) for the treatment of age-related cataract and AMD. Informed consents were obtained from all participants of the clinical trial.
RESULTS. The data collection for the randomized clinical trial ended in April 2001. The AREDS clinical trial results, both the treatment effects and the associated toxicities, will be reported.
CONCLUSIONS. Many people are currently taking vitamins and minerals in an effort to prevent cataract and AMD. The results of this study will have important public health implications for them and for those concerned about these two leading causes of blindness.