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Ophthalmic Epidemiol. 2002 Oct;9(4):283-95.

Use of vitamin and zinc supplements and age-related maculopathy: the Blue Mountains Eye Study.

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Department of Ophthalmology and the Save Sight and Westmead Millennium Institutes, the University of Sydney Centre for Vision Research, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, NSW, Australia.



To investigate relationships between vitamin and zinc supplement use and age-related maculopathy in a population-based sample.


We studied 2873 (79%) of the 3654 participants aged 49- 97 years who attended the cross-sectional Blue Mountains Eye Study and completed a detailed food frequency questionnaire, including type, dose and duration of supplement use. ARM was assessed during a masked grading of macular photographs. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated using logistic regression.


After adjusting for multiple confounders, we found that no vitamin or zinc supplements were significantly associated with reduced prevalence of any ARM lesions in either eye. The OR for use of any vitamin supplement was 1.3 (CI 0.9-1.7, p = 0.11) for individuals with any retinal pigment changes. It was 1.1 (CI 0.8-1.5, p = 0.59) for those with any soft (large) drusen and 1.5 (CI 0.7-3.0, p = 0.31) for those with late ARM lesions. The lack of association between supplement intake and ARM persisted regardless of their duration of use, dose or the smoking status of participants. The Breslow-Day test for heterogeneity was 0.24 with an OR for early ARM lesions among smokers of 0.7 (CI 0.4-1.3, p = 0.27), and 1.2 (CI 0.9-1.5, p = 0.24) among non-smokers.


This cross-sectional population-based study investigated associations between vitamin and zinc supplement use and the prevalence of ARM lesions. Our findings provide no support for a protective association between vitamin and zinc supplement use and lesions indicating early ARM. The small numbers of subjects with late ARM lesions precluded any detailed investigation of benefits from supplement use on the prevalence of these lesions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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