Our goal with our non-profit has been to help patients with eye problems obtain their best vision and eliminate obstacles that prevent this. The Age Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) has gone through two national trials (1 and 2) over 15 years that showed that the key ingredients slow progression of the disease, age related macular degeneration (AMD or ARMD). This disease is the LEADING cause of BLINDNESS in patients over age 60. Unfortunately, these vitamins are over the counter and associated with cost; they are not covered by insurance. They also differ from a multiple vitamin.
We did a preliminary study about two years ago and queried patients on their adherence to “AREDS vitamin daily use”. Many patients reported that cost was a major obstacle—30$ a month is a lot of money to many people. Some patients reported that they “stretched their vitamins”. Instead of taking the vitamins twice a day (as recommended), they would cut the dose in half to stretch the contents of their bottle twice as long.
We decided to purchase the vitamins at cost to pass this savings on to patients and improve adherence to the recommended dose. Guess what? It worked. Adherence improved from about 40-45% to almost 80%. Eating a diet rich in green leafy vegetables and not smoking can also help slow this disease.
Our goal is to set aside funds to purchase vitamins on behalf of patients on fixed incomes. We have taken a Leap of Faith to offer these to patients at no charge. Let’s all get back to helping those in our own community. We can all do something—give a ride, mow a lawn, make a meal, mend a fence.