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Health Condition

Macular Degeneration

About This Condition

Macular degeneration is the degeneration of the macula retinae, also called the macula lutea, an oval disc on the retina in the back of the eye. 

Degeneration of the macula retinae is the leading cause of blindness in elderly Americans.1

Symptoms

Macular degeneration is typically painless and includes symptoms of dark or blurry areas in the center of vision, seeing distortions of straight lines, and difficulty doing activities that require sharp vision (e.g., driving and reading). Peripheral (side) vision may remain clear.

Other Therapies

Eyeglasses are often prescribed that provide protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, are treated when present. In some cases, laser eye surgery may be recommended.

References

1. National Advisory Eye Council. Report of the Retinal and Choroidal Diseases Panel: Vision Research CA National Plan: 1983-1987. Bethesda, MD: US Dept of Health and Human Services, 1984. National Institutes of Health publication 83-2471.

2. Feher J, Kovacs B, Kovacs I, et al. Improvement of visual functions and fundus alterations in early age-related macular degeneration treated with a combination of acetyl-L-carnitine, n-3 fatty acids, and coenzyme Q10. Ophthalmologica2005;219:154-66.

3. Lebuisson DA, Leroy L, Reigal G. Treatment of senile macular degeneration with Ginkgo biloba extract: a preliminary double-blind study versus placebo. In Rokan (Ginkgo biloba): Recent Results in Pharmacology and Clinic, Fünfgeld FW, ed. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1988, 231-6.

4. Bone RA. Landrum JT. Distribution of macular pigment components, zeaxanthin and lutein, in human retina. Methods Enzymol 1992:213:360-6.

5. Seddon JM, Ajani UA, Sperduto RD, et al. Dietary carotenoids, vitamins A, C, and E, and advanced age-related macular degeneration. JAMA 1994;272:1413-20.

6. Blumenkranz MS, Russell SR, Robey MG, et al. Risk factors in age-related maculopathy complicated by choroidal neovascularization. Ophthalmology 1986:93:552-8.

7. Mares-Perlman JA, Brady WE, Kleain R, et al. Serum antioxidants and age-related macular degeneration in a population-based case-control study. Arch Ophthalmol 1995;113:1518-23.

8. Richer S, Stiles W, Statkute L, et al. Double-masked, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of lutein and antioxidant supplementation in the intervention of atrophic age-related macular degeneration: the Veterans LAST study (Lutein Antioxidant Supplementation Trial). Optometry 2004;75:216-30.

9. Yi C, Pan X, Yan H, et al. Effects of melatonin in age-related macular degeneration. Ann N Y Acad Sci 2005;1057:384-92.

10. Olson RJ. Supplemental dietary anoxidant vitamins and minerals in patients with macular degeneration. J Am Coll Nutr 1991;10:550.

11. Christen WG, Glynn RJ, Chew EY, et al. Folic acid, pyridoxine, and cyanocobalamin combination treatment and age-related macular degeneration in women: the Women's Antioxidant and Folic Acid Cardiovascular Study. Arch Intern Med 2009;169:335-41.

12. Newsome DA, Swartz M, Leone NC, et al. Oral zinc in macular degeneration. Arch Ophthalmol 1988:106:192-8.

13. Stur M, Tihl M, Reitner A, Meisinger V. Oral zinc and the second eye in age-related macular degeneration. Invest Ophtholmol 1966;37:1225-35.

14. Young RW. Solar radiation and age-related macular degeneration. Surv Ophthalmol 1988:32:252-69.

15. Katz ML, Parker KR, Handelman GJ, et al. Effects of antioxidant nutrient deficiency on the retina and retinal pigment epithelium of albino rats: a light and electron microscopic study. Exp Eye Res 1982;34:339-69.

16. West S, Vitale S, Hallfrisch J, et al. Are anti-oxidants or supplements protective of age-related macular degeneration? Arch Ophthalmol 1994:112:222-7.

17. Eye Disease Case-Control Study Group. Antioxidant status and neovascular age-related macular degeneration. Arch Ophthalmol 1993:111:104-9.

18. Goldberg J, Flowerdew G, Smith E, et al. Factors associated with age-related macular degeneration. Am J Epidemiol 1988:128:700-10.

19. Smith W, Mitchell P, Webb K, Leeder SR. Dietary antioxidants and age-related maculopathy: the Blue Mountains Eye Study. Ophthalmology 1999;106:761-7.

20. Teikari JM, Laatikainen L, Virtamo J, et al. Six-year supplementation with alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene and age-related maculopathy. Acta Ophthalmol Scand 1998;76:224-9.

21. Scharrer A, Ober M. Anthocyanosides in the treatment of retinopathies. Klin Monatsblatt Augenheilk 1981;178:386-9.

22. Mian E, Curri SB, Lietti A, Bombardelli E. Anthocyanosides and the walls of microvessels: Further aspects of the mechanism of action of their protective in syndromes due to abnormal capillary fragility. Minerva Med 1977;68:3565-81.

23. Bone RA. Landrum JT. Distribution of macular pigment components, zeaxanthin and lutein, in human retina. Methods Enzymol 1992:213:360-6.

24. Seddon JM, Ajani UA, Sperduto RD, et al. Dietary carotenoids, vitamins A, C, and E, and advanced age-related macular degeneration. JAMA 1994;272:1413-20.

25. Blumenkranz MS, Russell SR, Robey MG, et al. Risk factors in age-related maculopathy complicated by choroidal neovascularization. Ophthalmology 1986:93:552-8.

26. Mares-Perlman JA, Brady WE, Kleain R, et al. Serum antioxidants and age-related macular degeneration in a population-based case-control study. Arch Ophthalmol 1995;113:1518-23.

27. Richer S, Stiles W, Statkute L, et al. Double-masked, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of lutein and antioxidant supplementation in the intervention of atrophic age-related macular degeneration: the Veterans LAST study (Lutein Antioxidant Supplementation Trial). Optometry 2004;75:216-30.

28. Chua B, Flood V, Rochtchina E, Wang JJ, Smith W, Mitchell P. Dietary fatty acids and the 5-year incidence of age-related maculopathy. Arch Ophthalmol 2006;124:981-6.

29. Peng Y, Ma C, Li Y, et al. Quantification of zeaxanthin dipalmitate and total carotenoids in lycium fruits (Fructus Lycii). Plant Foods Hum Nutr 2005;60:161-4.

30. Zhou L, Leung I, Tso MO, Lam KW. The identification of dipalmityl zeaxanthin as the major carotenoid in Gou Qi Zi by high pressure liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. J Ocul Pharmacol Ther 1999;15:557-65.

31. Khachik F, Beecher GR, Smith JC Jr. Lutein, lycopene, and their oxidative metabolites in chemoprevention of cancer. J Cell Biochem Suppl 1995;22:236-46.

32. Cheng CY, Chung WY, Szeto YT, Benzie IF. Fasting plasma zeaxanthin response to Fructus barbarum L. (wolfberry; Kei Tze) in a food-based human supplementation trial. Br J Nutr 2005;93:123-30.

33. Benzie IF, Chung WY, Wang J, et al. Enhanced bioavailability of zeaxanthin in a milk-based formulation of wolfberry (Gou Qi Zi; Fructus barbarum L.). Br J Nutr 2006;96:154-60.

34. Leung I, Tso M, Li W, Lam T. Absorption and tissue distribution of zeaxanthin and lutein in rhesus monkeys after taking Fructus lycii (Gou Qi Zi) extract. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2001;42:466-71.

35. Young RW. Solar radiation and age-related macular degeneration. Surv Ophthalmol 1988:32:252-69.

36. Katz ML, Parker KR, Handelman GJ, et al. Effects of antioxidant nutrient deficiency on the retina and retinal pigment epithelium of albino rats: a light and electron microscopic study. Exp Eye Res 1982;34:339-69.

37. West S, Vitale S, Hallfrisch J, et al. Are anti-oxidants or supplements protective of age-related macular degeneration? Arch Ophthalmol 1994:112:222-7.

38. Eye Disease Case-Control Study Group. Antioxidant status and neovascular age-related macular degeneration. Arch Ophthalmol 1993:111:104-9.

39. Goldberg J, Flowerdew G, Smith E, et al. Factors associated with age-related macular degeneration. Am J Epidemiol 1988:128:700-10.

40. Smith W, Mitchell P, Webb K, Leeder SR. Dietary antioxidants and age-related maculopathy: the Blue Mountains Eye Study. Ophthalmology 1999;106:761-7.

41. Teikari JM, Laatikainen L, Virtamo J, et al. Six-year supplementation with alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene and age-related maculopathy. Acta Ophthalmol Scand 1998;76:224-9.

42. Young RW. Solar radiation and age-related macular degeneration. Surv Ophthalmol 1988:32:252-69.

43. Christen WG, Glynn RJ, Sesso HD, et al. Vitamins E and C and medical record-confirmed age-related macular degeneration in a randomized trial of male physicians. Ophthalmology 2012;119:1642-9.

44. Young RW. Solar radiation and age-related macular degeneration. Surv Ophthalmol 1988:32:252-69.

45. Katz ML, Parker KR, Handelman GJ, et al. Effects of antioxidant nutrient deficiency on the retina and retinal pigment epithelium of albino rats: a light and electron microscopic study. Exp Eye Res 1982;34:339-69.

46. West S, Vitale S, Hallfrisch J, et al. Are anti-oxidants or supplements protective of age-related macular degeneration? Arch Ophthalmol 1994:112:222-7.

47. Eye Disease Case-Control Study Group. Antioxidant status and neovascular age-related macular degeneration. Arch Ophthalmol 1993:111:104-9.

48. Goldberg J, Flowerdew G, Smith E, et al. Factors associated with age-related macular degeneration. Am J Epidemiol 1988:128:700-10.

49. Smith W, Mitchell P, Webb K, Leeder SR. Dietary antioxidants and age-related maculopathy: the Blue Mountains Eye Study. Ophthalmology 1999;106:761-7.

50. Teikari JM, Laatikainen L, Virtamo J, et al. Six-year supplementation with alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene and age-related maculopathy. Acta Ophthalmol Scand 1998;76:224-9.

51. Christen WG, Glynn RJ, Chew EY, Buring JE. Vitamin E and age-related macular degeneration in a randomized trial of women. Ophthalmology 2010;117:1163-8.

52. Smith W, Mitchell P, Leeder SR. Dietary fat and fish intake and age-related maculopathy. Arch Ophthalmol 2000;118:401-4.

53. Mares-Perlman JA, Brady WE, Klein R, et al. Dietary fat and age-related maculopathy. Arch Ophthalmol 1995;113:743-8.

54. Smith W, Mitchell P. Alcohol intake and age-related maculopathy. Am J Ophthalmol 1996;122:743-5.

55. Ajani UA, Christen WG, Manson JE, et al. A prospective study of alcohol consumption and the risk of age-related macular degeneration. Ann Epidemiol 1999;9:172-7.

56. Moss SE, Klein R, Klein BE, et al. Alcohol consumption and the 5-year incidence of age-related maculopathy: the Beaver Dam eye study. Ophthalmology 1998;105:789-94.

57. Ritter LL, Klein R, Klein BE, et al. Alcohol use and age-related maculopathy in the Beaver Dam Eye Study. Am J Ophthalmol 1995;120:190-6.

58. Obisesan TO, Hirsch R, Kosoko O, et al. Moderate wine consumption is associated with decreased odds of developing age-related macular degeneration in NHANES-1. J Am Geriatr Soc 1998;46:1-7.

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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2018.

Copyright © 2018 Healthnotes, Inc. All rights reserved.

The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2018.