Changes following supplementation with lutein and zeaxanthin in retinal function in eyes with early age-related macular degeneration: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Br J Ophthalmol. 2015 Mar;99(3):371-5. doi: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2014-305503. Epub 2014 Sep 16.


Aims: To investigate functional and macular pigment (MP) changes in patients with early age-related macular degeneration (AMD) after multiple supplementation with lutein and zeaxanthin.

Methods: 112 patients with early AMD were randomly (1:1:1:1) assigned to receive 10 mg lutein, 20 mg lutein, lutein (10 mg)+zeaxanthin (10 mg), or placebo daily for 2 years. MP optical density (MPOD) was recorded at baseline, 48 weeks and 2 years. Retinal sensitivities were measured by multifocal electroretinogram for peak-to-trough amplitude (N1P1) at baseline and at 48 weeks, and in terms of microperimeter-determined mean retinal sensitivity (MRS) at 48 weeks and 2 years.

Results: Supplementation with lutein and zeaxanthin augmented MPOD significantly in active treatment groups (all p<0.05). N1P1 response densities showed significant increases in ring 1 and ring 2 after 48 weeks of supplementation, while no significant changes were seen in rings 3-6. Significant increases in MRS were detected after supplementation with either 10 or 20 mg lutein, whereas no such increases were seen in the placebo arm.

Conclusions: Supplementation with lutein and/or zeaxanthin increases MPOD, and supplemental lutein enhances retinal sensitivity, in patients with early AMD.

Trial registration number: NCT10528605.

Keywords: Clinical Trial; Degeneration; Macula.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Combinations
  • Electroretinography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lutein / administration & dosage*
  • Macular Degeneration / drug therapy*
  • Macular Degeneration / metabolism
  • Macular Degeneration / physiopathology
  • Macular Pigment / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Visual Field Tests
  • Visual Fields / physiology
  • Zeaxanthins / administration & dosage*


  • Drug Combinations
  • Macular Pigment
  • Zeaxanthins
  • Lutein

Associated data