The nutritional factors involved in the pathogenesis of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) include antioxidants or antioxidant cofactors: vitamins A, C, etc.; zinc, etc.; anti-free-radicals such as beta-carotene and carotenoids, including lutein and zeaxanthin; micronutrients protecting from blue light such as lutein and zeaxanthin; and finally components of the membranes of the photoreceptors docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These nutritional factors are closely related to environmental risk factors such as smoking and chronic blue light exposure. Although the experimental and epidemiological data are concordant and coherent, the protective role of these micronutrients is not clearly established, mainly because there are very few clinical studies. However, a first observation study showed positive effects at stages 3 and 4 of AMD.

Report #8 of the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) provides important results for preventing complications of AMD (secondary prevention), and the cocktail of micronutrients proposed even encourages complementary studies on, for example, lutein and zeaxanthin instead of beta-carotene. The outcome of observation studies including a supplementation of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) of the omega-3 family (DHA) is also important, as it addresses primary prevention of the disease.

A supplementation of omega-3 PUFAs could be proposed to certain subjects at risk for AMD for primary prevention and a supplementation with an antioxidant cocktail of micronutrients could be proposed to patients presenting AMD at stages 3 or 4 or to subjects with a nutritional imbalance.

These conceivable supplementations are compatible with simple dietary advice. The supplements currently proposed could be optimized to increase their advantages. New research and new clinical studies are necessary to definitively validate these formulations in order to grant them an authentic drug status.