These are exciting times for research. Promising new drugs are in development, important genetic discoveries are being made and we’ve seen the first safety trials of stem cells in the human eye.
A large study, the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS 2) suggests that a high intake of lutein can reduce the risk of developing advanced AMD. The Aston researchers concluded: “For an informed population, many AMD participants were under-consuming nutrients considered to be useful for their condition. Participants without AMD were more likely to reach recommended daily allowance values”.
[ Publsher’s Comment ; The AREDs 1 study is in fact more important.]
Lutein and zeaxanthin, key constituents of macular pigment, have been found in high levels in the retinal rods. This suggests that macular pigment could play a significant role in keeping the retinal rods healthy and maintaining how well our eyes are able to adapt to the dark
Consider a nutritional supplement if you cannot be sure of getting high levels of antioxidants in your diet. There is some evidence that a specific formula of antioxidants and zinc tested in the second Age-Related Eye Disease trial (AREDS 2) can slow down the progression of AMD in some groups of people. No supplement has been shown to cure AMD. You should always talk to your ophthalmologist or optometrist before taking supplements, as they can interact with prescriptive medications.
The Macular Society has information on all aspects of living with macular conditions. We also have local support groups and a training programme to help people learn to use their peripheral vision more effectively (called “skills for seeing”). We have a professional, confidential telephone counselling service, a befriending service and a team of “buddies” who can provide reassurance on injections and visual hallucinations caused by Charles Bonnet Syndrome