An Eye on Nutrition: The Role of Vitamins, Essential Fatty Acids, and Antioxidants in Age-Related Macular Degeneration, Dry Eye Syndrome, and Cataract

Clin Dermatol. Mar-Apr 2016;34(2):276-85. doi: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2015.11.009. Epub 2015 Nov 22.


Visual impairment is a global epidemic. In developing countries, nutritional deficiency and cataracts continue to be the leading cause of blindness, whereas age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts are the leading causes in developed nations. The World Health Organization has instituted VISION 2020: "The Right to Sight" as a global mission to put an end to worldwide blindness. In industrialized societies, patients, physicians, researchers, nutritionists, and biochemists have been looking toward vitamins and nutrients to prevent AMD, cataracts, and dry eye syndrome (DES). Nutrients from the AREDS2 study (lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, copper, eicosapentanoic acid [EPA], and docosahexanoic acid [DHA]) set forth by the National Institutes of Health remain the most proven nutritional therapy for reducing the rate of advanced AMD. Omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA, have been found to improve DES in randomized clinical trials. Conflicting results have been seen with regard to multivitamin supplementation on the prevention of cataract.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Ascorbic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Cataract / prevention & control*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / therapeutic use
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Dry Eye Syndromes / drug therapy*
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Fatty Acids, Essential / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Lutein / therapeutic use
  • Macular Degeneration / drug therapy*
  • Macular Degeneration / prevention & control
  • Middle Aged
  • Multicenter Studies as Topic
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Vitamin E / therapeutic use
  • Vitamins / therapeutic use*
  • Zeaxanthins / therapeutic use
  • Zinc / therapeutic use
  • beta Carotene / therapeutic use


  • Antioxidants
  • Fatty Acids, Essential
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Vitamins
  • Zeaxanthins
  • beta Carotene
  • Vitamin E
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid
  • Zinc
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Lutein