If you are in the sun frequently and have low antioxidants you have an increased risk of advanced macular degeneration

October 24, 2008

A recent study from Europe found that having reduced plasma antioxidant levels and increased exposure to the blue spectrum of sunlight puts one at a greater risk of neovascular, or advanced age-related macular degeneration.
     The study included 4,400 participants in the European Eye Study. Subjects underwent fundus (the back of the eye; the retina, vessels and the optic disc) photography to evaluate the presence of macular degeneration, and blood plasma was analyzed for vitamins C and E, the carotenoids Lutein and Zeaxanthin, and the mineral zinc. Questionnaire responses concerning sunlight exposure were used to estimate blue light exposure from visible light, which has been shown in laboratory studies to contribute to the development of macular degeneration.

Early stage macular degeneration was detected in 2,182 participants, and 101 had the advanced form of the disease. The research team, led by Astrid E. Fletcher, PhD, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, found no association between blue light exposure and early macular degeneration unless the subject’s serum antioxidant levels were among the lowest 25%, in this case blue light significantly increased the risk of advanced sight-robbing disease. The study is published in the October, 2008 issue of the journal Archives of Ophthalmology.