International Ophthalmology

, Volume 39, Issue 12, pp 2975–2983 | Cite as

The value of nutritional supplements in treating Age-Related Macular Degeneration: a review of the literature

  • Sabrina MukhtarEmail author
  • Balamurali K. Ambati



To describe and evaluate the value of nutritional supplements in the management of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) through a review of the current literature.


An extensive literature search was performed, and key research articles exploring AREDS and AREDS-2 formulations, genetics, omega fatty acids, calcium and folic acid in high-risk women were reviewed. PubMed and Web of Science databases were used for generating articles to review.


The AREDS and AREDS-2 trials, while difficult to validate, show support for antioxidant supplementation in reducing AMD progression in Caucasian populations. While genetic guided personalized medicine has been studied mainly with complement factor H and age-related maculopathy susceptibility 2 risk alleles, the data have not been reproducible. Women at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease may benefit from antioxidant therapies in preventing AMD. Omega 3 fatty acid supplementation has been widely supported through observational studies; however, randomized controlled trials have not shown benefit in disease progression. Calcium exposure has been linked to increased mechanisms in cell death and may be detrimental to older individuals with AMD.


The data regarding nutritional supplements in preventing AMD progression are inconclusive, and therefore recommendations should be based on risk factors and demographic data.


Macular degeneration Nutrition Public health Retina 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Pittsburgh Medical CenterPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Pacific Clear Vision InstituteEugeneUSA

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