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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2005 Dec;1057:384-92.

Effects of melatonin in age-related macular degeneration.

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1
Department of Fundus Diseases, Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center, Sun Yat-Sen University, 510060 Guangzhou, China. yichang@public.guangzhou.gd.cn

Abstract

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of severe visual loss in aged people. Melatonin has been shown to have the capacity to control eye pigmentation and thereby regulate the amount of light reaching the photoreceptors, to scavenge hydroxyradicals and to protect retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells from oxidative damage. Therefore, it is reasonable to think that the physiological decrease of melatonin in aged people may be an important factor in RPE dysfunction, which is a well known cause for initiation of AMD. Our purpose is to explore a new approach to prevent or treat AMD. We began case control study with a follow-up of 6 to 24 months. One hundred patients with AMD were diagnosed and 3 mg melatonin was given orally each night at bedtime for at least 3 months. Both dry and wet forms of AMD were included. Fifty-five patients were followed for more than 6 months. At 6 months of treatment, the visual acuity had been kept stable in general. Though the follow up time is not long, this result is already better than the otherwise estimated natural course.1,2 The change of the fundus picture was remarkable. Only 8 eyes showed more retinal bleeding and 6 eyes more retinal exudates. The majority had reduced pathologic macular changes. We conclude that the daily use of 3 mg melatonin seems to protect the retina and to delay macular degeneration. No significant side effects were observed.

PMID:
16399908
DOI:
10.1196/annals.1356.029
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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