Harvard Heart Letter

Ask the doctor: Can I take PreserVision for my eyes even though I take warfarin?

Q. I am 95 years old and recently began treatment for early macular degeneration in one eye. My retinologist said that PreserVision might help protect the other eye. But she cautioned that it contains a large dose of vitamin E, which could cause a bleeding problem with the Coumadin I take because of a mechanical aortic valve. What would you suggest?

A. Macular degeneration is an eye disorder that makes it difficult to see straight ahead or fine details. In 2001, a report from the Aging-Related Eye Disease Study, a large trial sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, showed that a combination of vitamin A (as beta carotene), vitamin C, vitamin E, copper, and zinc helped prevent early macular degeneration from progressing to an advanced form of the disease in about 25% of the participants. Many eye doctors now recommend the use of this combination in people with early macular degeneration.

PreserVision is one such formulation. A daily dose of it contains 28,640 international units (IU) of vitamin A (572% of the recommended daily value [DV]), 452 mg of vitamin C (754% DV), 400 IU of vitamin E (1,334% DV), 69.6 mg of zinc (464% DV), and 1.6 mg of copper (80% DV).

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