Maculopathy refers to any pathological condition that affects the part of the eye that contains color-sensitive rods at the central point of sharpest vision.

A study of more than 22,000 adults concludes that after 12 years of treatment, beta carotene 50 mg taken every other day did not affect the risk of age-related maculopathy.

For those who don’t have access to the entire article, Judith Groch at Medpage Today has a good review of the study, which was conducted at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Importantly, these results differ from the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), where daily antioxidant supplementation (vitamin C 500 mg, vitamin E 400 IU, and beta-carotene 15 mg) reduced the odds of developing advanced age-related maculopathy in a high-risk group.

This latest study isolated beta-carotene from the mixture of antioxidants and showed that it did not contribute to the outcome of age-related maculopathy. Although there might have been an indirect effect caused by an interaction with the other antioxidants.

The bottom line?
In the absence of other treatment options to prevent or stop the progression of maculopathy, these results are particularly disappointing. Future studies will further define the role of antioxidants in this disease.

3/16/07 16:30 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.