Background: The age-related eye disease study suggested that taking zinc and anti-oxidants supplements could reduce the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In Australia, the available supplement is Macu-Vision. The study aimed to assess the awareness of and compliance with taking this supplement and the public health implication.
Methods: The fundus photograph database of patients aged 55 years and older at the ophthalmology department of a public teaching hospital in Adelaide, Australia was reviewed. In total, 125 patients with category 3 and 4 AMD were identified. A total of 100 patients participated in this cross-sectional study.
Results: In total, 53% of participants were aware of the availability of the formulae available in Australia, 38% were taking the supplement and only 1% were taking the correct dose. Of those taking the supplement 95% (36/38) were taking half the recommended dosage. Among those who were aware of the supplement but not taking it, cost was the most common reason (31%). Another 31% were not taking it because of actual side-effects experienced, fear of potential side-effect and/or fear of interaction with other medications. There was no predictive factor for failing to take the formulae available in Australia among age, sex, smoking status, living arrangement and category of AMD.
Conclusions: Clinicians need to emphasize that the recommended dosage is twice that on the supplement label. If the trend demonstrated here of underutilizing the formulae available in Australia among public hospital patients continues, it is unlikely to have any major public health impact in similar settings in Australia.