November 3, 2017

By Clare Collins -  Professor in Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Newcastle

Vitamin and mineral supplements won’t prevent the development of age-related macular degeneration. But there is some evidence taking supplements containing vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc may slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration in those who already have it. This evidence comes from two major systematic reviews published this year, conducted by the Cochrane collaboration.

The reason researchers thought about testing dietary supplements for eye disease relates to how the eyes convert light into sight. Light gets absorbed into pigments in the retina at the back of the eye. This process produces byproducts called free radicals. Free radicals are oxygen atoms that have unpaired electrons, which makes them highly reactive and unstable. As these atoms hunt around to find another electron so they can become more stable, they trigger damage to other molecules, the walls of cells and...

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