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New Supplement against Sight Loss in Elderly
Academics have helped develop an antioxidant supplement which may slow down sight loss in elderly people.
The supplement may help those affected by the leading cause of blindness in the Western World, a five-year research programme has found.
Professor Usha Chakravarthy, co-ordinated the study, which looked at nutritional supplements for patients with early age-related macular (AMD) degeneration and found they helped sharpen vision. AMD is an incurable eye disease which causes blurring of central vision because of its effects on the macula, the central part of the retina.
Over 400 people across Ireland took part in clinical trials investigating whether carotenoids, rich antioxidants which are found in fruit and vegetables, could prevent progression to the more serious late AMD. When the eye disease progresses to late AMD patients are unable to read, watch television or recognise people’s faces as they only have peripheral vision, not central vision.
As the macula of the eye is very rich in antioxidants the researchers wanted to see if a supplement called CARMA (Caroteneoids and Co-antioxidants in Age-related Maculopathy) containing the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin could help slow down AMD. The supplement also contained vitamins C,E and Zinc, which had been used in a previous study.
The latest study showed that intake of high levels of both carotenoids preserved the macular pigments, slowing down the progression from early AMD to late AMD. In contrast, the macular pigments of participants in a placebo group declined steadily.
Dr Chakravarthy added: “These findings are important because this is the first randomised controlled clinical trial to document a beneficial effect through improved function and maintained macular pigments. Further research is needed to confirm these findings and to identify the numbers needed to treat to prevent 1 case from progressing from early to late AMD.”
REHACARE.de; Source: Queen's University, Belfast
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