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Carotenoids: Nature’s Cure to Macular Degeneration?


Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in the elderly populations of the US and Western World. Although the pathogenesis of AMD is still being debated, studies that show the anti-oxidant carotenoids, Lutein and Zeaxanthin may have protective affects against AMD are mounting. This article will conduct a PubMed based review of the most current literature on the protective role of carotenoids against the progression of AMD. Our search noted studies showing decreases in carotenoid density in the retina’s of AMD sufferers and the ability of nutritional supplementation to increase retinal densities in AMD and non-AMD sufferers. Recent studies have also shown improvement in other clinical measurements such as enhanced visual acuity amongst patients started on dietary supplementation with carotenoids. Our review concludes that there is epidemiological and clinical evidence suggesting that the carotenoids, Lutein and Zeaxanthin, do play a protective role against the progression of AMD however, further large randomly controlled clinical trials are needed.

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