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Does dietary lutein and zeaxanthin increase the risk of age related macular degeneration? The Melbourne Visual Impairment Project
  1. H T V Vu1,
  2. L Robman1,
  3. C A McCarty1,3,
  4. H R Taylor1,
  5. A Hodge2
  1. 1Centre for Eye Research Australia, University of Melbourne, East Melbourne, Australia
  2. 2Cancer Council Victoria, Carlton, Australia
  3. 3Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, Marshfield, WI, USA
  1. Correspondence to: Professor Hugh R Taylor Centre for Eye Research Australia, University of Melbourne, 32 Gisborne Street, East Melbourne, VIC 3002, Australia; h.taylor{at}

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Age related macular degeneration (AMD) was one of the five main causes of vision impairment in the combined study of the Melbourne Visual Impairment Project (MVIP) and the Blue Mountains Eye Study (BMES).1

A higher dietary intake of lutein/zeaxanthin was significantly associated with lower risk of having exudative age related macular degeneration in the Eye Disease Case-Control Study, but there was no association between lutein/zeaxanthin (LZ) intake and either early or neovascular age related maculopathy in the combined prospective US study.2,3 Also, a higher fish intake has been associated with a lower risk of progression to advanced AMD among those with low (below median) linoleic acid intake, whereas there was no significant association among those with higher linoleic acid intake.4

The aim of this paper is to examine the association of AMD with dietary intake of the carotenoids lutein/zeaxanthin in conjunction with linoleic acid intake in the follow up population based sample of the MVIP.


Study design

Of 3040 permanent residents recruited in 1992–4, 2594 (85%) of them attended the follow up examinations in 1997–9.5 At both time points of the study, participants signed an informed consent and underwent a standard procedure including an ophthalmic examination and an interview regarding socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, historic and current symptoms of eye diseases, medical history, and medication use. The follow up survey also included a …

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  • Ethics approval: The protocol of the study was approved by the Human Research and Ethics Committee of the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital.

  • Competing interests: None declared.