Role of lutein supplementation in the management of age-related macular degeneration: meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Ophthalmic Res. 2014;52(4):198-205. doi: 10.1159/000363327. Epub 2014 Oct 25.


Objective: The conduct of this meta-analysis aimed at examining the individual role of lutein as a dietary supplement in improving conditions of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) from the data generated from randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

Method: The literature search was made in multiple electronic databases. Eligibility criteria were RCTs that recruited AMD patients or individuals at risk and evaluated lutein supplementation efficacy against placebo. The quality of the trials was assessed by using the Jadad scale. The meta-analysis was conducted under the fixed effect model with RevMan software by calculating the mean differences of the changes from baseline of both lutein and placebo groups. Parameters of interest were macular pigment optical density (MPOD) and visual acuity (VA) in logMAR (minimum angle of resolution). Heterogeneity was determined by χ(2) and I(2) and publication bias was assessed by visual examination of funnel plots.

Results: After following predetermined inclusion and exclusion criteria, five RCTs that recruited 445 participants were selected for the meta-analysis. It has been found that lutein treatment was associated with a significant improvement in MPOD, with mean differences between lutein and placebo groups in the changes from baseline of 0.09 (95% CI: 0.06, 0.12; p < 0.00001). VA also improved with a mean difference between lutein and placebo groups in the changes from baseline of -0.04 (95% CI-0.07, 0.00; p = 0.05). Statistical heterogeneity was not apparent.

Conclusion: A statistically highly significant effect of lutein supplementation has been observed for improving the MPOD, whereas the improvement in VA was milder. A daily dose of 10 mg was found as effective as higher doses in this meta-analysis. However, the number of input studies is not adequate for conclusive evidence.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Humans
  • Lutein / administration & dosage*
  • Macular Degeneration / drug therapy*
  • Macular Degeneration / metabolism
  • Macular Degeneration / physiopathology
  • Macular Pigment / metabolism
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic*
  • Visual Acuity / physiology


  • Macular Pigment
  • Lutein