Alternative Vitamin Therapy
Other unconventional nutrients have been suggested to play a protective role in age related macular degeneration. The best known is the extract anthocyanosides of the Vaccinium myrtillus (bilberry) plant, which is a potent antioxidant. Studies have shown that bilberry has a strong affinity for the retinal pigment epithelial cells and it may prevent macular degeneration in rat models. However, these results should be taken with caution since clinical trials have not demonstrated its efficacy in humans as of yet.
Vitamins have been used to treat retinal diseases other than age related macular degeneration. Vitamin A with docosahexaenoic acid had been shown to reduce the progression of retinitis pigmentosa over 2 years. Vitamin A has also been shown to help slow the progression of hereditary abetalipoproteinemia (Bassen-Kornzweig syndrome), and may be helpful as well in Sorsby fundus dystrophy. Refsum’s disease may be treated with a diet low in phytanic acid. Finally, vitamin B6 along with a diet restricting arginine may be helpful in slowing the progression of gyrate atrophy.