[Lutein and antioxidants in the prevention of age-related macular degeneration]

Ophthalmologe. 2008 Jan;105(1):37-8, 40-5. doi: 10.1007/s00347-007-1602-1.
[Article in German]


Demographic developments in Europe and North America are causing an increase of age-related diseases. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the leading causes of severe central visual acuity loss in elderly people and seems to be an economic problem, too. There is evidence that oxidative damage is an important factor for exacerbation of AMD. Macular pigment with its antioxidative effect may serve as"natural sunglasses" filtering the blue light acting as a possible source of photooxidative damage to the neurosensory retina. The macular pigment consists mostly of lutein and zeaxanthin. These micronutrients from the group of carotenoids, as is the case for vitamins (vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene), cannot be synthesized in mammals and that is the reason why the role of micronutrition or its supplementation and its correlation to AMD progression has been discussed for years. The results of currently published studies are often contradictory. At present there are no results from randomized controlled studies confirming that supplementation of lutein and zeaxanthin can reduce the risk for AMD. Several epidemiological studies investigating the impact of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids on the incidence of AMD provided conflicting results.Up to now, AREDS is the largest randomized controlled study investigating the effect of supplementation of antioxidants, zinc, and copper on the progression of AMD. AREDS showed a significant effect of this supplementation in some particular groups of patients with AMD. The supplementation of lutein and omega-3 fatty acids is not toxic but a positive effect has not been proven by randomized studies.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / trends*
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Lutein / administration & dosage*
  • Macular Degeneration / drug therapy*
  • Macular Degeneration / prevention & control*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / trends*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antioxidants
  • Lutein