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Curr Med Res Opin. 2010 Aug;26(8):2011-23. doi: 10.1185/03007995.2010.494549.

Dietary supplementation: effects on visual performance and occurrence of AMD and cataracts.

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Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University, Elkins Park, PA 19027, USA.



To evaluate results of studies that have provided information regarding the effects of dietary supplementation on visual performance, development and progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and risk for cataracts.


Studies with information about the effects of dietary supplementation were identified via PubMed searches that combined (in separate searches) the terms 'supplement' OR 'supplementation' OR 'diet' AND 'cataract' or 'macular degeneration' or 'visual' OR 'vision'. Additional references concerned with biologic effects of specific agents, measurement of visual function, and the etiology and epidemiology of cataracts and AMD were identified on the basis of PubMed conventional literature searches.


Studies of the effects of dietary supplementation, primarily with preparations including lutein and zeaxanthin, have demonstrated improvements in contrast sensitivity and visual performance under glare conditions that, in some studies, have been correlated with effects of treatment on macular pigment optical density. Results from both observational and prospective interventional studies generally support the conclusion that dietary supplements including these xanthophylls significantly decrease the occurrence of AMD and the development of nuclear lens opacities. However, there is variability in results regarding effects of dietary supplementation that may be related to limitations of long-term observational or interventional studies and which cannot be easily controlled or which may also be related in some studies to other important, yet unrecorded, diet- and lifestyle-related factors that are capable of influencing the risks for AMD and/or cataracts.


The multiple benefits of dietary supplementation support the development and use of these preparations to promote optimal visual function and decrease risk for AMD and cataracts. Increasing understanding of the optimal approach to supplementation will depend upon results from interventional studies that also carefully evaluate and analyze well-established factors for these two conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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