The effect of nutritional supplementation on visual function

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The aim of this research was to determine the effect of a lutein-based nutritional supplemented on measures of visual function in normal and ARMD-affected eyes. Thirty participants were recruited to the ARMD cohort (aged between 55 and 82 years, mean ± SD: 69.2 ± 7.8) and 46 were recruited into the normal cohort (aged between 22 and 73 years, mean ± SD: 50.0 ± 15.9). Outcome measures were distance (DVA) and near (NVA) visual acuity, contrast sensitivity (CS), photostress recovery time measured with the Eger Macular Stressometer (EMS), central visual function assessed with the Macular Mapping test (MMT), and fundus photography. Reliability studies were carried out for the EMS and the MMT. A change of 14 s is required to indicate a clinically significant change in EMS time, and a change of 14 MMT points is required to indicate a clinically significant change in MMT score. Sample sizes were sufficient for the trial to have 80% power to detect a significant clinical effect at the 5% significance level for all outcome measures in the normal cohort, and for CS in the ARMD cohort. The study demonstrated that a nutritional supplement containing 6mg lutein, 750 mg vitamin A, 250 mg vitamin C, 34 mg vitamin E, 10 mg zinc, and 0.5 mg copper had no effect on the outcome measures over nine or 18 months in normal or ARMD affected participants. The finding that nine months of antioxidant supplementation, in this case, has no significant effect on CS in ARMD-affected participants adds to the literature, and contrasts with previous RCTs, the AREDS and the LAST. This project has added to the debate about the use of nutritional supplementation prior to the onset of ARMD.
Date of Award2005
Original languageEnglish


  • nutritional supplementation
  • visual function

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