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Med J Aust. 2006 May 1;184(9):455-8.

Modifiable risk factors for age-related macular degeneration.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Centre for Eye Research Australia, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

Abstract

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in Australia and other Western countries. As there is no cure for AMD, and treatments to stop its progression have met with limited success, there is an interest in identifying modifiable risk factors to prevent or slow disease progression. To date, smoking is the only proven modifiable risk factor for AMD. Other factors under study include (i) cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension, body mass index, and atherosclerosis; and (ii) dietary risk factors including fat and antioxidant intake, but so far these studies have produced conflicting results. Dietary fat in relation to AMD has recently attracted media attention. Despite very limited work supporting an association between vegetable fat and AMD, widespread publicity advocating margarine as a cause of AMD and encouraging use of butter instead has caused confusion and anxiety among sufferers of AMD and the general public, as well as concern among health professionals. The antioxidant carotenoids--lutein and zeaxanthin--found in dark green or yellow vegetables exist in high concentrations in the macula and are hypothesised to play a protective role. Of nine controlled trials of supplementation with carotenoids and other antioxidants, three suggested that various combinations of antioxidants and carotenoids were protective. While a low-fat diet rich in dark green and yellow vegetables is advocated in general, any specific recommendations regarding certain fats or antioxidant supplementation and AMD are not based on consistent findings at this stage.

PMID:
16646746
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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