Supplements and eye health

2 May 2005
Volume 06, Issue 2
AMD

Reviewing the evidence for the role of supplements in eye health, particularly cataract and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Abstract

This article reviews the evidence for the role of supplements in eye health, particularly cataract and age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). The possibility that food supplements can delay the development of cataract and/or ARMD is attractive. Published data support an inverse association between intakes of antioxidant nutrients, supplements of vitamin C and multivitamins and cataract, but evidence for ARMD is weaker. Intervention trials have so far yielded limited evidence of benefit for antioxidant supplementation in cataract, although there is some evidence that zinc with or without antioxidants may delay the development of advanced ARMD. Carotenoids, particularly lutein and zeaxanthin, are the most promising nutrients for eye health and preliminary evidence suggests that high dietary intake of lutein may protect against cataract and ARMD. Small intervention trials also suggest that lutein supplements may improve visual function in both conditions. However, further investigation is required to clarify the role of food supplements in the development and treatment of eye disease.

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