Macular Degeneration Information:
Vitamin Supplements and Macular Degeneration

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Light and images travel into the eye through the pupil, finally focusing on the internal wall of the eye, known as the retina. The center area of the retina that provides the details of vision that allow us to read and distinguish facial features is known as the macula.

As we age, the macula inside our eyes is vulnerable to degenerative changes that can affect our ability to see these precious details. The condition is called Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), and it is the most common cause of irreversible blindness in the Western Hemisphere.

The early forms of this condition are called “dry” or atrophic macular degeneration. Although not usually rapidly progressive, it can cause severe vision loss. Some patients  progress to “wet” or exudative macular degeneration, in which there is bleeding beneath the retina with rapidly progressive vision loss.

Research by the National Eye Institute demonstrated that high-dose nutritional supplementation with large quantities of antioxidants can slow the progression of macular degeneration. And more recent research has shown that large quantities of lutein and zeaxanthin can improve vision and the appearance of the retina in macular degeneration.*


appearance of normal retina

The left image depicts how a normal retina appears when seen through the pupil. The macula is the darker orange area in the center of the left image. The right image depicts a cross section of the retina and blood vessels internally, and the important supporting tissues externally.

appearance of dry macular degeneration

Dry macular degeneration, with yellow drusen originating from Bruch’s membrane that impinge on the internal retina

appearance of wet macular degeneration

Wet macular degeneration, with external blood vessels breaking through Bruch’s Membrane and bleeding beneath the internal retina