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One of the first things I learned was that eating a balanced meal wasn't just important for me, it was CRITICAL.  In these days of Big Macs and drive in windows, sometimes it is really hard to make sure you are eating balanced meals.  So, many of us turn to supplements to make sure we get the vitamins and minerals we need. 

Lutein has been determined to be something Stargardt's sufferers find helpful.   Lutein naturally occurs in egg yolks, and in green leafy vegetables.   Unfortunately, no one is really sure what the recommended daily allowance (RDA) is on it.  There has been a study on vitamins and macular disease done that you will see referenced on the internet as the AREDS study.  Macular Degeneration International has information about this in a report understandable by a normal human being (read as non medically trained person) on their web site in the nutrition section.  They also advertise some supplements, but be aware you can also buy a lot of these things if you read the labels at Walmart.  I've been taking 6 mg per day of Lutein for about 15 months now.  I also take a daily multi vitamin.

I've been told by many macular degenerative disease sufferers that they have found some relief of the problems they've experienced with low light vision problems by taking Bilberry supplements.  I don't know if this works or not, but as of today (2/6/2002), I'm going to start taking it to try it out.  I haven' heard any claims of harm, and have heard many of help.  Again, check for yourself and find what works for you.  

One thing that was stressed to me early on is that megadosing with vitamins isn't good for anyone, and that it can be especially harmful for Stargardt's sufferers.  So if you are one of those people who take 4000% of the RDA on vitamins, be warned.  You aren't helping yourself, and you're stressing out your body's resources forcing it to dump all those extra vitamins.  Think about it for a moment.  The body was designed to run on food....vitamins are a relatively recent addition to human life.  To get 4000% of the RDA through food, how much would you have to eat?   And would THAT be good for you?  The answer is obviously no.

Additional lifestyle factors in this category are tobacco and alcohol.  I don't smoke, and don't drink.  Tobacco has known ill effects on the eyes as well as the rest of the body.  Alcohol also has its effects.  I won't be drawn into a debate on this one; you'll have to make your own judgements.  But if you want to know, I don't use either.