Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss among people 50 and older.
The macula is the small spot near the center of the retina. The eye needs it for central vision to see objects straight ahead. When the macula becomes damaged, it severely limits your ability to see things in your central line of vision.
As AMD progresses, a blurred area develops near the center of your vision. Objects may not appear as sharp or bright as they used to. Colors seem faded. That loss of central vision can interfere with daily activities like recognizing faces, reading, driving, working, cooking, or watching TV.
Besides age, the biggest risk factor for AMD is smoking. Other risk factors include sun exposure, high blood pressure and obesity.
Multiple studies show that supplementing with carotenoids and antioxidants improves AMD. In one randomized, double-blind placebo controlled study from a Veterans Administration Hospital 90 patients were assigned to receive 10 mg of lutein alone, or 10 mg of lutein plus a combination of herbal extracts, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, or a placebo. After 12 months they found that either alone or in combination with other nutrients, lutein improved visual function.