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Melatonin may help reduce the risk of macular degeneration

Melatonin may help reduce the risk of macular degeneration
Melatonin may help reduce the risk of macular degeneration


June 19, 2024 – Most people Melatonin From soothing sleepless nights to overcoming jet lag, could these little pills hold the unexpected secret beyond sleep? Beyond their reputation as sleep aids, melatonin supplements may have surprising potential as a treatment for vision problems.

In a study of more than 120,000 people aged 50 or older with no history of cancer, Age-related macular degeneration Melatonin is the number one cause of severe vision loss in adults over 50, affecting about 1 in 10 Americans. People who take melatonin supplements were less likely to experience vision loss, according to a study published Nov. 24, 2010. JAMA Ophthalmology.

There are two types of AMD: Dry AMD The most common is yellow deposits ( Drusen) appear in the macula, or central part of the retina. If they grow or grow larger, they can cause vision loss. Wet AMD A less common, late-stage disease in which vision loss can progress rapidly. Blood vessels under the macula can become loose and leak blood and other fluids, causing reduced vision. The leaking blood vessels can also leave scars, which can lead to permanent vision loss.

The study looked at more than 65,000 patients with dry AMD and found that melatonin use was associated with a reduced likelihood of progression to wet AMD. This effect may result from melatonin's anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which may halt processes that impede visual function, the researchers said. Rishi P. Singh, MD, an ophthalmologist at Cleveland Clinic Florida;

But experts say the findings on melatonin and AMD should be taken as a link because they may also be linked to other factors. For example, smoking and High blood pressure Both increase the risk of AMD.

“What's needed next is to confirm this in other large cohorts and, more importantly, to do so in a way that controls for smoking and hypertension characteristics that may have been confounding factors in this study,” said Dr. JAMA Ophthalmology.

So while melatonin's therapeutic properties may slow the progression or incidence of AMD, there's insufficient information to classify it as a formal treatment, says Sunil Garg, MD, a spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology and professor of ophthalmology at Wills Eye Hospital.

“People who are concerned about developing AMD should quit smoking, exercise for 30 minutes at least three times a week, eat dark green leafy vegetables and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids three times a week, and see an eye doctor annually after age 40,” Garg said. “Until we have more information, people should not take supplements such as melatonin for eye health.”

Still, the findings are a promising step in a direction, said Dr. Vicky Chan, a Los Angeles-based ophthalmologist.

“This is a retrospective study, so there is still a lot of work to be done, but since melatonin is widely available and easy to implement, this is definitely an exciting finding.”




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