Author(s): Lawler T, Liu Y, Christensen K, Vajaranant TS, Mares J. Dietary Antioxidants, Macular Pigment, and Glaucomatous Neurodegeneration: A Review of the Evidence. Nutrients. 2019 May 1;11(5). pii: E1002. doi: 10.3390/nu11051002. Review.
Journal: Nutrients, Volume 11, Issue 5, May 2019
Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) is a leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide, and the prevalence is projected to increase to 112 million worldwide by 2040. Intraocular pressure is currently the only proven modifiable risk factor to treat POAG, but recent evidence suggests a link between antioxidant levels and risk for prevalent glaucoma. Studies have found that antioxidant levels are lower in the serum and aqueous humor of glaucoma patients. In this review, we provide a brief overview of the evidence linking oxidative stress to glaucomatous pathology, followed by an in-depth discussion of epidemiological studies and clinical trials of antioxidant consumption and glaucomatous visual field loss. Lastly, we highlight a possible role for antioxidant carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which accumulate in the retina to form macular pigment, as evidence has emerged supporting an association between macular pigment levels and age-related eye disease, including glaucoma. We conclude that the evidence base is inconsistent in showing causal links between dietary antioxidants and glaucoma risk, and that prospective studies are needed to further investigate the possible relationship between macular pigment levels and glaucoma risk specifically.