Nutrients combat macular degeneration

Section: Medical News From Around The World Bethesda, Maryland:
Age-related macular degeneration, an irreversible eye disorder that leads to blindness, has recently been challenged by a team of nutrition-oriented scientists. They found that increased consumption of food rich in carotenoids (such as dark-green, leafy vegetables, carrots, and yams) may decrease the risk for advanced macular degeneration. Vitamins A,C, and E were added to the dietary regimen. Further studies are being pursued, encouraged by preliminary positive results.

There is increasing speculation that dietary factors, particularly antioxidants, may prevent or impede the progression of macular degeneration. The theory is biologically possible, say the participants in the study. The outer retina, rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, may be altered adversely by free radical oxidation and, conversely, those components of the eye may be protected by nutrients that block the oxidative damage.

Antioxidants have also been reported to help maintain the integrity of the blood vessels that supply the macular region of the retina.

Smokers seem to have the highest risk for age-related macular degeneration, the research team said.

(Reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 11/8/94. Five ophthalmology centers in the United States participated in the research

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