The effects of a lutein-based supplement on objective and subjective measures of retinal and visual function in eyes with age-related maculopathy -- a randomised controlled trial

Br J Nutr. 2013 Jun;109(11):2008-14. doi: 10.1017/S0007114512004187. Epub 2012 Oct 19.


Lutein and zeaxanthin are lipid-soluble antioxidants found within the macula region of the retina. Links have been suggested between increased levels of these carotenoids and reduced risk for age-related macular disease (ARMD). Therefore, the effect of lutein-based supplementation on retinal and visual function in people with early stages of ARMD (age-related maculopathy, ARM) was assessed using multifocal electroretinography (mfERG), contrast sensitivity and distance visual acuity. A total of fourteen participants were randomly allocated to either receive a lutein-based oral supplement (treated group) or no supplement (non-treated group). There were eight participants aged between 56 and 81 years (65·50 (SD 9·27) years) in the treated group and six participants aged between 61 and 83 years (69·67 (SD 7·52) years) in the non-treated group. Sample sizes provided 80% power at the 5% significance level. Participants attended for three visits (0, 20 and 40 weeks). At 60 weeks, the treated group attended a fourth visit following 20 weeks of supplement withdrawal. No changes were seen between the treated and non-treated groups during supplementation. Although not clinically significant, mfERG ring 3 N2 latency (P=0·041) and ring 4 P1 latency (P=0·016) increased, and a trend for reduction of mfERG amplitudes was observed in rings 1, 3 and 4 on supplement withdrawal. The statistically significant increase in mfERG latencies and the trend for reduced mfERG amplitudes on withdrawal are encouraging and may suggest a potentially beneficial effect of lutein-based supplementation in ARM-affected eyes.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage*
  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Electroretinography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lutein / administration & dosage*
  • Lutein / chemistry
  • Macular Degeneration / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Visual Acuity / physiology


  • Antioxidants
  • Lutein