Science is a constantly changing environment, but it’s important to keep up with the updates, especially when it comes to healthcare. In eye care, the biggest study conducted to date is focused on age-related eye health issues (i.e., the AREDS trials). Pinakin Davey, PhD, OD, FAAO, has been examining the existing and emerging research around early identification and intervention of age-related eye health issues, and he’s sharing his suggestions for best early patient care.
Determine the Difference In Vision
Some changes in vision are natural as we age, while some are signs of age-related or other eye health issues. The AREDS 2 trial prepared a grading scale to help eye care professionals (ECPs) identify those subtle changes that could mean more. The Beckman classification system simplified that scale even more and helps practitioners know which signs and symptoms have the highest risk of progression.
Other Identification Tactics
Dr. Davey stresses that visual acuity is one of the last visual functions to show dramatic change due to age-related eye health issues and suggests a few other measurements to look at. One of those is low-light vision. Davey comments that these “more challenging tasks” tend to decline earlier in the stages of age-related eye health issues vs. natural aging.
Using Color Vision Testing to Determine Early Visual Changes
Dr. Davey also suggests testing color vision with a cone-contrast threshold exam like that of the Rabin Cone Contrast Test. This test can isolate cone types, allowing ECPs to determine which cone type is being affected. One longitudinal study used the Rabin Cone Contrast Test to identify the red, blue, and green cone types. The results showed that the color contrast exam could detect variations in color vision due to age-related eye health issues.
Macular Pigment Optical Density (MPOD) Measurement
Measuring a patient’s macular pigment optical density (MPOD) is another great way to identify the early stages of age-related eye health issues. It’s important to note that a low MPOD is not linked to the causation of age-related eye health issues, but it is an important and modifiable risk factor for developing them. Dr. Davey believes it’s as important for ECPs to know patients’ MPOD scores as it is for endocrinologists to know blood sugar measurements or hemoglobin A1C. yet, MPOD measurement is still not standard practice.
Reducing Risk for Age-Related Eye Health Issues
As mentioned above, MPOD is a modifiable risk factor for developing age-related eye health issues, and it’s relatively easy to modify. The macular pigment is made up of 2 dietary carotenoids called zeaxanthin and lutein. These two critical xanthophylls aren’t created in the body and, therefore, must be ingested (hence, dietary). However, it’s nearly impossible for patients to get the amounts of these critical nutrients through diet alone.
Supplementation is a great way to fill the zeaxanthin/lutein dietary gap. In fact, supplementation is the gold standard of age-related eye health care (i.e., AREDS 2 supplements). While supplementation is the standard, results aren’t always universal, making it difficult for some practitioners to buy into the idea of supplements. These variable results could be caused by poor bioavailability of the ingredients or supplement itself or even too much damage done.
Because the eyes are the “intended target” of supplementation for age-related eye health issues, MPOD levels must be increased as a result of nutraceutical therapies. This is why it’s important for ECPs to know their patients’ baseline MPOD measurement – so they can tell if the supplements prescribed are making it to their final destination (and track patient compliance). While supplementation is the gold standard for patients who have intermediate to advanced age-related eye health issues, clinical data shows that nutritional intervention offers visual improvements and protection at all stages.
EyePromise® for Age-Related Eye Health Issues
When it comes to eye health nutraceuticals, few are more clinically proven than the EyePromise line. EyePromise the #1 eye doctor recommended nutraceutical brand and offers the most comprehensive line of ocular supplements, covering patients with diabetes, occasional dry eye, screen time-related eye issues, and of course, age-related eye health issues. With such a variety, you can personalize the nutritional care you provide to your patients.
EyePromise AREDS 2 Plus Multi-Vitamin is your “standard” AREDS 2 product, including all the necessary ingredients plus additional clinically proven nutrients to better support and protect lasting eye health. Add in the multi-vitamin, and it’s a terrific, well-rounded product.
EyePromise AREDS 2 Plus Zinc-Free includes all the AREDS 2 ingredients minus the zinc and multi-vitamin. Some patients want or need to avoid the heavy metal but still need macular support. This product serves that need and is also a great option for patients already taking a multi-vitamin.
EyePromise Restore is your answer for proactive care when it comes age-related eye health issues. Prescribe this nutraceutical for patients with risk factors for or early signs of age-related eye health issues.
Have patients looking for “just the basics?” Or maybe you have vegetarian or vegan patients looking for macular support? EyePromise Zeaxanthin + Lutein is their solution. This vegetarian softgel delivers high-quality, natural zeaxanthin and lutein; nothing more and nothing less.
If patients are already on a lutein supplement but want a boost of zeaxanthin (because it’s the carotenoid chosen by the eye to protect central vision), EyePromise Zeaxanthin offers 10 mg of dietary zeaxanthin in one softgel.
EyePromise and MPOD
All of these products are guaranteed to increase MPOD in 6 months when taken consistently, and that’s a money-back guarantee! Dr. Davey mentions that increased MPOD levels can “preserve retinal tissue, specifically the layers containing photoreceptors in the fovea.” This also proves the bioavailability of the supplement because their guaranteed to reach the eye. It’s thought that the levels of carotenoids affect the bioavailability and the impact on MPOD, and EyePromise delivers the highest amounts of dietary zeaxanthin and lutein available.
As with any health issue, the earlier age-related eye health issues are caught, the better the long-term outcome. Dr. Davey suggests new ways to test patients’ visual function and identify potential candidates earlier. Finally, he stresses the importance of acting once those patients are identified, and EyePromise offers the nutritional support to help ECPs do so.
For more information on offering nutraceuticals for age-related eye health issues, have your local EyePromise Regional Account Manager contact you!