Research: DROBEK-SLOWIK and co-authors,

Listed in Issue 147


DROBEK-SLOWIK and co-authors, Katedra i Klinika Okulistyki Pomorskiej Akademii Medyczej w Szczecinie. Poland,, have reviewed (67 references) the role of oxidative stress in macular degeneration.

Abstract: Age-related macular degeneration is one of the most important causes of blindness among the elderly. Although the disease presents a serious social problem, its pathogenesis is still unclear. It involves the posterior pole of the retina, the place responsible for acute vision. Retinal factors (intensive oxygen metabolism, continual exposure to light, a high concentration of polyunsaturated fatty acids, the presence of photosensitizers) increase the production of reactive oxygen species. Oxidative stress is aggravated by the presence of lipofuscin. This pigment accumulates with age, especially in the eyes of those with macular degeneration. The most important risk factors, beside genetic predisposition, are factors leading to oxidative stress in the retina, e.g. age above 65 years, smoking, obesity, exposition to blue light, and bright irises. Macular pigment is a natural barrier protecting the central retina against oxidative damage. It is formed by two dihydroxycarotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin. Carotenoids also demonstrate antioxidant activity. Eyes with a predisposition to develop macular degeneration or which already have developed the disease have considerably less macular pigment and a greater risk of oxidative damage compared with healthy eyes. Investigations have shown that diet poor in antioxidant micronutrients (vitamin C, E, carotenoids, zinc) and low plasma levels of antioxidants may favour the development of the age-related macular degeneration. The findings demonstrate that micronutrient supplementation enhances antioxidant defence and might prevent or retard the disease or modify its course.






Drobek-Slowik M, Karczewicz D, Safranow K. The potential role of oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of the age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Postepy Higieny i Medycyny do Swiadczalnej (Online) 61 : 28-37, 2007.

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