Research: DROBEK-SLOWIK and others,

Listed in Issue 143


DROBEK-SLOWIK and others, Katedra i Klinika Okulistyki Pomorskiej Akademii Medyczej w Szczecinie, Poland,, have reviewed (67 references) the role of oxidative stress in age-related 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. Of central importance is 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. The 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, cigarettes smoking, obesity, exposure to blue light, and bright irises. Macular pigment is a natural barrier protecting the central retina against oxidative damage. It is formed by two carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin. The location of the macular pigment permits it to act as an optical filter that absorbs short-wavelength light. Carotenoids also show 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 a diet poor in antioxidant micronutrients (vitamin C, E, carotenoids, zinc) and low plasma levels of antioxidants may favour the development of age-related macular degeneration. The findings demonstrate that antioxidant supplementation might prevent or retard macular degeneration.






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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