Zorba Paster: Supplement May Slow Wet Macular Degeneration

Study: Disease Can Be Slowed By Taking Supplement Loaded With Antioxidants, Zinc, Copper

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Winslow Townson/AP Photo

The progression of a potentially devastating form of partial blindness, wet macular degeneration, can be slowed by taking a supplement loaded with antioxidants, zinc and copper, according to new research published in the British Medical Journal’s Ophthalmology.

The macula is the part of the eye we use for reading, watching TV, writing and doing any fine work. In wet age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, abnormal blood vessels grow underneath the retina. These vessels can leak fluid and blood, which can damage the macula. The result can be devastating.

Injections of drugs into the eye have proven to be monumental in slowing the inflammation inside the eye that is part and parcel with this problem.

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Researchers in the United Kingdom looked at the prevalence of wet AMD in men and women age 55 and older and found taking this daily supplement seemed to slow the progression and possibly even the development of this dreaded form of blindness.

Wet macular degeneration is treated with eye injections containing anti-VEGF agents (“vascular endothelial growth factor”) such as Avastin. Monthly shots have become the mainstay of treatment. But what if a pill might keep it from happening or slow it down? Nice.

In this study patients who had AMD and took the oral supplements gained additional time living without impaired vision. It wasn’t a treatment cure like the injections but it was an additional more natural step that helped.

My spin: We need more research into this devastating disease that hits older folks. The older I get the more I think this research is critical.

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