Antioxidants No Help for Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Action Points

  • Note that this meta-analysis of randomized trials suggests that antioxidant use does not prevent or delay the development of age-related macular degeneration.
  • There was some evidence that the use of the supplements may slow progression of AMD among those who already have the disease, however.

Neither vitamin E nor beta-carotene supplements prevented or delayed the onset of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and the same is probably true for both vitamin C and the widely used multivitamin Centrum Sliver, authors of two systematic reviews concluded.

However, for patients with early AMD, taking an antioxidant or a zinc supplement may slow disease progression to late AMD and may retard vision loss, the same reviewers concluded.

Moreover, no evidence suggests that lutein, alone or in combination with zeaxanthin, prevents or delays onset of AMD. Additionally, little evidence supports a role for lutein, zeaxanthin or vitamin E in modifying disease progression to late AMD or slowing vision loss, Jennifer Evans, PhD, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and John Lawrenson, PhD, City University of London, reported in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

“Antioxidant vitamin and mineral supplements are increasingly being marketed for use in age-related eye disease, including AMD [and] people with AMD need to have reliable information in order to decide whether or not to take vitamin supplements,” Evans and Lawrenson concluded.

“Although vitamin…

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