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How To End Age-Related Macular Degeneration Naturally

age-related macular degeneration eye health diet nutrition

Macular degeneration robs millions of their eyesight every year. In fact, there is no more obvious sign of dietary deficiency than to receive a diagnosis of macular degeneration. Once recognized, however, age-related macular degeneration can be thwarted by eating more antioxidant-rich foods and supplementing with zinc.


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Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the developed world and currently affects more than 1.75 million individuals in the United States. Alarmingly, due to the rapid aging of the US population, this number will increase to almost 3 million by 2020.

Age-related macular degeneration is not genetic. Age-related macular degeneration is a slow and continual loss of vision. It is a diet-related condition caused by a lifetime deficiency in antioxidants from fruits and vegetables.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration or Diet-Related Macular Degeneration?

Antioxidants are the most protective against oxidative stress. They stop your body from deteriorating. As we age we oxidize. Oxidation is the same chemical reaction that causes iron to rust. This process of oxidation plays a similarly corrosive role in our bodies. The process is commonly known as oxidative stress.

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Putting Antioxidants To The Test

An observational study published in the Journal Archives of Ophthalmology looked at whether antioxidant and/or zinc supplements delay progression of age-related macular degeneration and vision loss. The objective of the study was to evaluate the effect of high-dose vitamins C and E, beta carotene, and zinc supplements on age related macular degeneration progression and visual acuity.

The Age-Related Eye Disease Study, an 11-center double-masked clinical trial, enrolled participants in an age-related macular degeneration trial if they had extensive small drusen, intermediate drusen, large drusen, noncentral geographic atrophy, or pigment abnormalities in one or both eyes, or advanced age-related macular degeneration or vision loss due to age-related macular degeneration in one eye. At least one eye had best-corrected visual acuity of 20/32 or better.

Participants were randomly assigned to receive daily oral tablets containing: (1) antioxidants (vitamin C, 500 mg; vitamin E, 400 IU; and beta-carotene, 15 mg); (2) zinc, 80 mg, as zinc oxide and copper, 2 mg, as cupric oxide; (3) antioxidants plus zinc; or (4) placebo.

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Antioxidants Plus Zinc Significantly Reduce Odds of Developing Macular Degeneration

Average follow-up of the 3640 enrolled study participants, aged 55-80 years, was 6.3 years, with 2.4% lost to follow-up. Comparison with placebo demonstrated a statistically significant odds reduction for the development of advanced age-related macular degeneration with antioxidants plus zinc respectively. Participants with extensive small drusen, nonextensive intermediate size drusen, or pigment abnormalities had only a 1.3% 5-year probability of progression to advanced age-related macular degeneration. Odds reduction estimates increased when these 1063 participants were excluded. Both zinc and antioxidants significantly reduced the odds of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration in this higher-risk group. The only statistically significant reduction in rates of at least moderate visual acuity loss occurred in persons assigned to receive antioxidants plus zinc. No statistically significant serious adverse effect was associated with any of the formulations.

Age-related Macular Degeneration Is Preventable

Of course, having a diet high in antioxidant-rich foods is always recommended. That being said, those 55 years and older who are already deficient can benefit from targeted supplementation. The study concluded that persons older than 55 years should consider taking a supplement of antioxidants plus zinc such as that used in this study. The study also concluded that people 55 and over have dilated eye examinations to determine their risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration.


Quillen, David A. "Common Causes of Vision Loss in Elderly Patients." American Family Physician. July 01, 1999. Accessed February 04, 2018. https://www.aafp.org/afp/1999/0701/p99.html.

Age-Related, G. R. "A randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial of high-dose supplementation with vitamins C and E, beta carotene, and zinc for age-related macular degeneration and vision loss: AREDS report no. 8." Archives of ophthalmology (Chicago, Ill. : 1960). October 2001. Accessed February 04, 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11594942.

Wong, Ian Yat Hin, Simon Chi Yan Koo, and Clement Wai Nang Chan. International Ophthalmology. February 2011. Accessed February 04, 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3021198/.

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