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Nutritional supplements for macular degeneration

Abstract

Age-related macular degeneration is the commonest cause of blindness in developed countries and the third most common worldwide.1 Each year in the UK, around 17,000 people become blind or partially sighted as a result of this condition, and its prevalence is likely to increase with an ageing population.2 Laser therapy and rarely surgery, can slow disease progression in a minority of patients but is unlikely to restore lost vision.3,4 A wide range of nutritional supplements are now on sale with promotional claims that they improve eye health.5 While some specialists recommend their use to patients with advanced disease, these supplements are also increasingly promoted to people with early or no signs of disease. Consequently, GPs come under pressure from patients to recommend, or even prescribe, a nutritional supplement. Here we examine the evidence for nutritional supplements in the management of age-related macular degeneration and consider which, if any, can be recommended.

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