There is a consensus that age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the result of (photo)-oxidative-induced retinal injury and its inflammatory sequelae, the latter being influenced by genetic background. The dietary carotenoids, lutein (L), zeaxanthin (Z), and meso-zeaxanthin (meso-Z), accumulate at the macula, where they are collectively known as macular pigment (MP). The anatomic (central retinal), biochemical (anti-oxidant) and optical (short-wavelength-filtering) properties of this pigment have generated interest in the biologically plausible rationale that MP may confer protection against AMD. Level 1 evidence has shown that dietary supplementation with broad-spectrum anti-oxidants results in risk reduction for AMD progression. Studies have demonstrated that MP rises in response to supplementation with the macular carotenoids, although level 1 evidence that such supplementation results in risk reduction of AMD and/or its progression is still lacking. Although appropriately weighted attention should be accorded to higher levels of evidence, the totality of available data should be appraised in an attempt to inform professional practice. In this context, the literature demonstrates that supplementation with the macular carotenoids is probably the best means of fortifying the anti-oxidant defences of the macula, thus putatively reducing the risk of AMD and/or its progression.
- Age-related macular degeneration
- Macular pigment