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Clinical Trial
. 1988 Feb;106(2):192-8.
doi: 10.1001/archopht.1988.01060130202026.

Oral Zinc in Macular Degeneration

Clinical Trial

Oral Zinc in Macular Degeneration

D A Newsome et al. Arch Ophthalmol. .


Macular degeneration associated with age and drusen, an important cause of severe visual loss in older persons, is of unknown cause. The sensory retina and retinal pigment epithelium, which are cell layers in zinc, appear to be prominently involved in the disease process. Because zinc plays a role in the metabolic function of several important enzymes in the chorioretinal complex, we undertook a prospective, randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled investigation of the effects of oral zinc administration on the visual acuity outcome in 151 subjects with drusen or macular degeneration. Although some eyes in the zinc-treated group lost vision, this group had significantly less visual loss than the placebo group after a follow-up of 12 to 24 months. This is the first controlled oral intervention study to show a positive, if limited, treatment effect in macular degeneration, a major public health problem. Because of the pilot nature of the study and the possible toxic effects and complications of oral zinc administration, widespread use of zinc in macular degeneration is not now warranted.

Comment in

  • Zinc and macular degeneration.
    Trempe CL. Trempe CL. Arch Ophthalmol. 1992 Nov;110(11):1517. doi: 10.1001/archopht.1992.01080230015002. Arch Ophthalmol. 1992. PMID: 1444901 No abstract available.
  • The therapeutic use of zinc in macular degeneration.
    Yuzbasiyan-Gurkan V, Brewer GJ. Yuzbasiyan-Gurkan V, et al. Arch Ophthalmol. 1989 Dec;107(12):1723-4. doi: 10.1001/archopht.1989.01070020805004. Arch Ophthalmol. 1989. PMID: 2627236 No abstract available.

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