Skip to main content
The Web      Powered by
powered by Yahoo!

Study: Vitamins combat age-related blindness

Story Tools

Mayo Clinic
Macular degeneration

CHICAGO, Illinois (Reuters) -- Hundreds of thousands of people could benefit from vitamin supplements shown to help prevent macular degeneration, a condition that is the leading cause of blindness from age 65, a study reported.

In 2001, researchers announced they had found a reduced risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration and vision loss for test subjects who had been given high-dose antioxidant supplements -- vitamins C, E and beta carotene -- as well as zinc or zinc oxide.

In Monday's report, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore tried to estimate how many people in the United States alone would benefit from increasing supplement use.

They concluded there are 8 million Americans at least 55 years old thought to be at high risk for the problem. If all the people at risk took the supplements used in the earlier study, more than 300,000 of them would avoid advanced macular degeneration and any associated vision loss during the next five years, the study said.

"If even half of the individuals at high risk for (the condition) were identified and compliant with the recommended supplement, it is likely that more than 150,000 individuals would avoid vision loss for some time," said the study published in the November issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

"These data suggest that the recommendation of such a supplement for these individuals should have a major impact on them as well as on the public health," the authors concluded.

In an editorial commenting on the study published in the same journal, Lee Jampol, a physician at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, said the supplements should be used "only in patients with intermediate or advanced age-related macular degeneration."

"What about patients who have a strong family history of macular degeneration or who for other reasons believe that they are at risk for the disease and wish to take the (supplement) formulation prior to the development" of intermediate or advances cases of the problem, he asked.

"It appears appropriate to eat a diet rich in fruits and (especially green) vegetables, to supplement with a multivitamin and to undergo periodic ophthalmic examinations for the development of" the condition, he added.

Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Story Tools
Subscribe to Time for $1.99 cover
Top Stories
Candy makers target fitness market
Top Stories
CNN/Money: Security alert issued for 40 million credit cards

International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
   The Web     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.