SEATTLE, June 27 Using a high-output camera to film theback of the human eye, for the first time researchers have shown that anutraceutical matrix can effectively remove cellular debris from the human eyethat accumulates with advancing age and correlated this with significantimprovement in visual acuity and night vision in an 80-year-old man.
The accumulation of cellular debris in the retina is believed to be thefirst sign of age-related macular degeneration, an eye disease that robssenior adults of their central vision used for reading or driving, for whichthere is no cure.
Dr. Stuart Richer OD, PhD, Chief, Optometry Section at the VeteransMedical Center in North Chicago, speaking at the 111th annual American Academyof Optometry meeting in Seattle, says this may be the first time anintervention has been shown to reverse aging changes in the retina.
The patient, an 80-year-old male, came to the eye clinic complaining ofloss of night vision. Commonly prescribed nutraceuticals, such as lutein,vitamin E and fish oil were employed with no positive result.
After 5 months on the dietary supplement regimen, five measurableparameters of vision improved to varying but significant degrees includingnight (contrast) vision, visual acuity, color and side vision. Upon testing,it was also found the patient's mental capacity had improved. The patientsaid, "My night vision and thinking have gotten much better."
The underlying cause
A broad body of evidence exists to assert the claim that the human eye andall other organs "rust and calcify" with advancing age. Dr. Richer prescribeda nutraceutical matrix (Longevinex(R) -pronounced long-jev-in-ex) designed toremove excess minerals by a process called chelation (key-lay-shun),particularly calcium, iron and copper, that build up in retinal tissues overtime.
Dr. Richer explains that the retina of the eye begins to show signs ofretinal aging, usually beginning in the third decade of life, with theprogressive accumulation of lipofuscin, the medical term for cellular"garbage" that pollutes cells as they age. Researchers believe lipofuscin isnot an innocent bystander -- that it generates free radicals, gene mutationsand even cell death.
The use of natural iron-chelating polyphenolic molecules, such asresveratrol, quercetin and rice bran employed in this case, has been proposedas an intervention that addresses a wide range of age-related diseases such asAlzheimer's, Parkinson's, cardiovascular and immune compromised disease. Thesemolecules work by their mineral chelating (key-lay-ting) properties.
Older patients can't wait for a cure
Dr. Richer says this case may serve as an early example of the potentialfor molecular medicine to make an impact in eye care. "While only one case,these patients do not have time to wait for controlled long-term studies and'best available evidence' needs to be employed, given there are no foreseeableside effects or undue cost."
While Dr. Richer says this is not a proven cure yet, he thinks modernmedicine may soon be able to prevent the onset of age-related retinal diseasedecades before vision is lost.
Macular degeneration: the numbers
Macular degeneration of the human eye is prevalent among senior Americans.About two-thirds of the 37 million senior adults in the U.S. exhibit signs ofthe retinal disease and about 9% of these subjects (~2.5 million) willeventually lose some central vision. Patients with macular degeneration do notgo completely blind as they generally retain their side vision. Only theircentral vision for reading and driving is impaired.
If this paper foretells what is to come, at-risk adults may soon be ableto obtain a non-invasive retinal/lipofuscin assessment many decades prior tothe development of mac