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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:429124. doi: 10.1155/2012/429124. Epub 2012 Jul 18.

A longitudinal follow-up study of saffron supplementation in early age-related macular degeneration: sustained benefits to central retinal function.

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1
Dipartimento di Scienze Otorinolaringoiatriche e Oftalmologiche, Universita' Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, 00168 Roma, Italy.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

In a previous randomized clinical trial (Falsini et al. (2010)), it was shown that short-term Saffron supplementation improves retinal flicker sensitivity in early age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The aim of this study was to evaluate whether the observed functional benefits from Saffron supplementation may extend over a longer follow-up duration.

DESIGN:

Longitudinal, interventional open-label study.

SETTING:

Outpatient ophthalmology setting.

PARTICIPANTS:

Twenty-nine early AMD patients (age range: 55-85 years) with a baseline visual acuity >0.3.

INTERVENTION:

Saffron oral supplementation (20 mg/day) over an average period of treatment of 14 (±2) months.

MEASUREMENTS:

Clinical examination and focal-electroretinogram-(fERG-) derived macular (18°) flicker sensitivity estimate (Falsini et al. (2010)) every three months over a followup of 14 (±2) months. Retinal sensitivity, the reciprocal value of the estimated fERG amplitude threshold, was the main outcome measure.

RESULTS:

After three months of supplementation, mean fERG sensitivity improved by 0.3 log units compared to baseline values (P < 0.01), and mean visual acuity improved by two Snellen lines compared to baseline values (0.75 to 0.9, P < 0.01). These changes remained stable over the follow-up period.

CONCLUSION:

These results indicate that in early AMD Saffron supplementation induces macular function improvements from baseline that are extended over a long-term followup.

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