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Int Ophthalmol. 2019 Dec;39(12):2975-2983. doi: 10.1007/s10792-019-01140-6. Epub 2019 Jul 16.

The value of nutritional supplements in treating Age-Related Macular Degeneration: a review of the literature.

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University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, 203 Lothrop Street, Pittsburgh, PA, 15213, USA.
Pacific Clear Vision Institute, 112 Darlene Lane, Eugene, OR, 97401, USA.



To describe and evaluate the value of nutritional supplements in the management of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) through a review of the current literature.


An extensive literature search was performed, and key research articles exploring AREDS and AREDS-2 formulations, genetics, omega fatty acids, calcium and folic acid in high-risk women were reviewed. PubMed and Web of Science databases were used for generating articles to review.


The AREDS and AREDS-2 trials, while difficult to validate, show support for antioxidant supplementation in reducing AMD progression in Caucasian populations. While genetic guided personalized medicine has been studied mainly with complement factor H and age-related maculopathy susceptibility 2 risk alleles, the data have not been reproducible. Women at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease may benefit from antioxidant therapies in preventing AMD. Omega 3 fatty acid supplementation has been widely supported through observational studies; however, randomized controlled trials have not shown benefit in disease progression. Calcium exposure has been linked to increased mechanisms in cell death and may be detrimental to older individuals with AMD.


The data regarding nutritional supplements in preventing AMD progression are inconclusive, and therefore recommendations should be based on risk factors and demographic data.


Macular degeneration; Nutrition; Public health; Retina


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