Cost savings of £3000 per patient from public funding of AMD supplements

A British Journal of Ophthalmology study recommends that the NHS fund a daily zinc and antioxidant supplement for patients who have wet AMD in one eye


Researchers have called for the NHS to pay for patients with wet AMD in one eye to receive a daily supplement that combines antioxidants with zinc and copper.

In a study, published in British Journal of Ophthalmology, scientists found that the supplements are a relatively inexpensive and effective means of slowing the progression of wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The study authors based their findings on data from the Age Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) in combination with UK treatment costs and the prevalence of AMD in people over the age of 55. 

Researchers found that the use of supplements was most cost effective for patients with wet AMD in one eye. 

The authors conclude that while there would still be savings from giving supplements to people with wet AMD in both eyes, the economic argument was not as strong as for those with the condition in one eye. 

In this group, they calculate that over the course of a lifetime, patients receiving supplements would require eight fewer injections of anti-VEGF therapies – representing an annual cost saving to the NHS of £131 million or nearly £3000 per patient.