Ophthalmologists prescribe nutrition supplements to prevent vision loss or Age - related macular degeneration (AMD). But taking nutrition supplements greater than the recommended amounts may be harmful to the eye.
Age - related macular degeneration occurs due to the damage in the macula and is the common cause of vision loss.
Paul Bernstein, M.D., Ph.D., described a patient who had crystal deposits in the macular portion of the retina in both the eyes . He found that the patient was taking double the dose of lutein supplements than which was required for the past eight years. The patient has taken lutein supplements (20mg) along with kale, avocado, broccoli and avocado smoothie in the diet.
Bernstein said, "When we looked at the patient's carotenoid levels in serum, skin, and the retina, all measurements were at least two times greater than carotenoid levels in patients not taking nutritional supplements."
"The patient quit taking the lutein supplement, but maintained her diet rich in lutein, and, after seven months, the crystals in the right eye disappeared." he added.
According to the AREDS2 (Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2) clinical trial, lutein(10mg) along with zeaxantin(2mg) were found to lower the risk of AMD progression. Lutein supplements are included as a part of the treatment regimen for Age related Macular Degeneration.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are basically carotenoids and antioxidants which are prepared by the plants to neutralize light-induced damage in the eye. Carotenoids cannot be synthesized in the body and therefore should be included in the diet or taken in the form of supplements.
Even though the supplements are prescribed for patients who are at high risk for AMD, there has been an increased use among the common people. Bernstein adviced patients that "everyone should eat an 'eye-healthy' diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, and individuals should take an AREDS2 supplement if their ophthalmologist detects signs of AMD."
The author also concluded that the case report might serve as an indicator for the harmful effects of lutein supplements when taken in more than the recommended quantities. The study must be followed up by a larger clinical trial before the results can be considered conclusive.