As the number of individuals with age-related macular degeneration increases, the economic and social consequences of this blinding disease rise. No proven preventive measures exist to halt development or progression of this disease. The specific insults that trigger and perpetuate age- related macular degeneration are unknown; however, it may be the result of repetitive oxidative injuries. Several studies suggest a possible protective role for antioxidant micronutrients and other trace minerals, but data for specific antioxidants have been inconsistent between studies. Although promising, the preliminary evidence is limited. Reliable data on whether antioxidant vitamins or trace minerals decrease the development or progression of age-related macular degeneration will emerge from several ongoing large-scale randomized clinical trials. Based on the currently available information, it is not possible to recommend antioxidant micronutrient supplementation to protect against development or retard progression of age-related macular degeneration.
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