Antioxidants May Prevent Macular Degeneration

A new study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry shows that an antioxidant rich diet can help protect against eye disease such as macular degeneration. Macular degeneration, the leading cause of age-related blindness in the Unite States and other developed countries, may be prevented by consuming foods rich in antioxidants such as blueberries, artichokes, and pecans.

Antioxidant rich diets have been found to disrupt the link between two processes in the retina that when combined, contribute to macular degeneration. Antioxidants have also been shown to extend the life of irreplaceable photoreceptors and other retinal cells.

Macular degneration has been shown to occur when a buildup of a compound called A2E disrupts the energy production in the mitochondria. The lack of energy interferes with the cleaning process of photoreceptors and other retinal cells. This results in a buildup of A2E that results in the distruction of cells critical to vision. These cells cannot be replaced. This has been shown to result in macular degeneration.

Antioxidants have been shown to counteract the damage caused by this process. Using rats and cows, researchers at Brigham Young University and Weill Medical College of Cornell University have shown that consuming antioxidants could prevent eye disease such as macular degeneration.

“The implication is that people at risk of macular degeneration could help prevent the disease by consuming antioxidants,” study author Heidi Vollmer-Snarr, a Brigham Young chemist, said in a university news release.

According to the research, this suggests the possibility of interventions which could prove to be powerful ways to prevent or delay age-related macular degeneration.

Age related macular degeneration is an eye disease that attacks the central vision of the eye, eventually leading to blindness if left untreated.