Nutritional Advice for Macular Degeneration

General nutrition and wellbeing is important not only for macular degeneration, but for other common diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. 

People with significant macular degeneration should have a diet;

All people with macular degeneration who smoke should be encouraged to quit, as it increases the risk of vision loss 3-4 fold.

Nutritional Supplements

There are many nutritional supplements available for macular degeneration. Some of these are supported by very little scientific data, and therefore are not necessarily recommended for use in all patients.

The best information regarding nutritional supplementation in macular degeneration comes from the AREDS-1 and AREDS-2 trials. From this, the recommended daily intake of nutrients is as follows;

Several pharmaceutical companies make multi-vitamin tablets with these nutrients. They are often available over the counter at your chemist or health food store.

Should I take supplements if I have no macular degeneration, mild macular degeneration or a positive family history?

The AREDS studies did not demonstrate any benefit for taking supplements in people with no macular degeneration or very mild macular degeneration. 

If you have a family history of macular degeneration, but don't have any sign of it yourself, there has been no demonstrated benefit for nutritional supplements.

If you fall into any of these categories, it is usually suggested that you follow the general nutritional advice given at the top of this page.


If you are considering taking vitamin supplements, you should always make your general practitioner aware. Sometimes changes in diet or supplements may interact with other medications that you are taking (for example, blood thinners like warfarin).

The above advice is current as of July 2014.

Dr Joshua Yuen

Dr Joshua is an experienced consultant ophthalmic surgeon, who specialises in retinal diseases and cataract surgery... read more

Dr Brad Johnson

Dr Johnson is an experienced consultant ophthalmic surgeon, who specialises in retinal diseases and cataract surgery... read more