Nutritional supplement helps improves vision in age-related macular degeneration, finds study

October 1, 2008

A five-university-based study found that a patented combination of antioxidants and micronutrients (Tozal, AmeriSciences) helps patients with the dry form of age-related macular degeneration to improve their vision.

Houston

-A five-university-based study found that a patented combination of antioxidants and micronutrients (Tozal, AmeriSciences) helps patients with the dry form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) to improve their vision. Patients in the study’s placebo arm who received the “AREDS-type” nutritional formulation continued to lose their sight. Results of the research were supported by a new study, which shows that omega-3 acids cut the risk of developing the wet form of AMD.

“The study demonstrates that treatment with this supplement can help patients with age-related vision loss,” said lead investigator Francis E. Cangemi, MD, a macular degeneration specialist affiliated with Vitreo-Retinal Associates of New Jersey.

At 6 months, 57% of patients in the treatment group gained an average of one-half line of visual acuity and 20% stayed the same.

All patients in the placebo arm lost visual acuity, with an average loss of 1.49 lines at the end of 6 months. The study was published in the February 2007 issue of BMC Ophthalmology.

While this study shows how a combination of nutritional components can slow the progression of AMD, another study published in the August issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrates that one critical ingredient can significantly reduce the risk of developing the disease.

Researchers found that seniors who had higher intakes of omega-3 docozahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EHA) had a lower risk of developing the wet form of AMD. Those in the top 25% of DHA and EPA levels-300 mg a day and above-reduced their risk by 70%.

“While the AREDS II study will not be completed for 5 years, both of these studies demonstrate the value of trying this new nutritional approach right now to stave off 5 years of age-related vision loss,” said Dr. Cangemi.

Over 6 months, study participants saw researchers five times, receiving a battery of eye tests. Participants were instructed to take the nutritional supplement three times a day and to maintain a log.

“We saw significant improvements in visual acuity, but did not see demonstrated improvements in function,” Dr. Cangemi said. “This is likely due to the short duration of the study.”