Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) remains a leading cause of modifiable vision loss in older adults. Chronic oxidative injury and compromised antioxidant defenses represent essential drivers in the development of retinal neurodegeneration. Overwhelming free radical species formation results in mitochondrial dysfunction, as well as cellular and metabolic imbalance, which becomes exacerbated with increasing age. Thus, the depletion of systemic antioxidant capacity further proliferates oxidative stress in AMD-affected eyes, resulting in loss of photoreceptors, neuroinflammation, and ultimately atrophy within the retinal tissue. The aim of this systematic review is to examine the neuroprotective potential of the xanthophyll carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin on retinal neurodegeneration for the purpose of adjunctive nutraceutical strategy in the management of AMD. A comprehensive literature review was performed to retrieve 55 eligible publications, using four database searches from PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, and the Web of Science. Epidemiology studies indicated an enhanced risk reduction against late AMD with greater dietary consumption of carotenoids, meanwhile greater concentrations in macular pigment demonstrated significant improvements in visual function among AMD patients. Collectively, evidence strongly suggests that carotenoid vitamin therapies offer remarkable synergic protection in the neurosensory retina, with the potential to serve as adjunctive nutraceutical therapy in the management of established AMD, albeit these benefits may vary among different stages of disease.
Link to Article: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34439503/