Complementary medicines beneficial in reducing the risk of macular degeneration

29 May 2014

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29 May 2014 - The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) said that Macular Degeneration Week puts the spotlight on the prevention of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness and vision loss in Australia in older adults. More than 1.15 million Australians over 50 years of age have some evidence of AMD. 1

Steve Scarff, ASMI Director of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs said that: "While there is no known cure for AMD, there are dietary treatment options that can slow its progression, depending on the stage and type of the disease.

"Research has demonstrated that the macular pigments lutein and zeaxanthin, which are found in some fruit and vegetables, are the two major components of the macular pigment of the retina.

Observational data suggests that increased dietary intake of lutein or zeaxanthin, or both, is associated with a lower risk of AMD. 2

"Dietary supplements can play a role in preventing or retarding the progress of AMD. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study 1 and 2 (AREDS 1 and 2) showed some beneficial effects of vitamins C, E, lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc and copper in reducing the risk of progression to advanced AMD in patients with intermediate AMD or in patients with one-sided late AMD. This effect was greatest for people with low levels of these nutrients.3,4
"Numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits of lutein and zeaxanthin supplementation on vision improvement. Research shows that the macular pigment increases by using dietary supplements - evidence points to a correlation between macular pigment density and a reduction in the risk for AMD.5, 6,7,8

"Given the evidence about dietary supplementation and AMD, consumers are encouraged to talk to a qualified healthcare professional who can advise them whether a supplement could be beneficial in preventing or retarding the progression of AMD," said Mr Scarff.

For more information or to arrange a media interview, please contact:
Marie Kelly-Davies
PR Manager, Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI)
M:0408256381 E:

About ASMI: The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) is the peak body representing sponsors of non-prescription medicines - over-the-counter (OTC) and complementary medicines. Its members make up 85 per cent of the $4 billion self care market. Membership totals 60 companies and ASMI members employ approximately 18,000 people with exports estimated at $1.2 billion annually. ASMI's mission is to promote better health through responsible self care. This means ensuring that safe and effective self care products are readily available to all Australians at a reasonable cost. ASMI works to encourage responsible use by consumers and an increasing role for cost-effective self medication products as part of the national health strategy.

1. Macular Disease Foundation Australia. At-risk Australians in the dark about sight saving measures.

2. Sommerburg O, Keunen JE, Bird AC, van Kuijk FJ.Fruits and vegetables that are sources for lutein and zeaxanthin: the macular pigment in human eyes. BrJ Ophthalmol 1998;82:907-910.

3. Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group. A randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial of high-dose supplementation with vitamins C and E, beta carotene, and zinc for age-related macular degeneration and vision loss: AREDS report no. 8. Arch Ophthalmol. 2001;119(10):1417-1436.

4. Chew, E. Lutein + Zeaxanthin and Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Age-Related Macular Degeneration. JAMA. 2013; 309(19):2005-2015.
5. Chiu CJ et al. The Relationship of Major American Dietary Patterns to Age-Related

Macular Degeneration. Am J Ophthalmol. 2014 Apr 29.

6. Richer S, Stiles W, Statkute L, et al. Doublemasked, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of lutein and antioxidant supplementation in the intervention of atrophic age-related macular degeneration: the Veterans LAST study. (Lutein Antioxidant Supplementation Trial). Optometry 2004;75:216-230.

7. Massacesi AL, Faletra R, Gerosa F, et al. The effect of oral supplementation of macular carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin) on the prevention of age-related macular degeneration: 18 months of follow up study. Assoc Res Vision Ophthalmol 2001;42.

8. Do Nutritional Supplements Have a Role in Age Macular Degeneration Prevention? Maria D. Pinazo-DurĂ¡n et al. J Ophthalmol. 2014; 2014: 901686. Published online Jan 23, 2014.