Dietary antioxidants and age-related maculopathy: the Blue Mountains Eye Study.


Smith W, Mitchell P, Webb K






OBJECTIVE: To assess associations between the stages of age-related maculopathy (ARM) and dietary intake of carotene, vitamin C, retinol, and zinc. DESIGN: Cross-sectional, population-based study. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 3654 subjects 49 years of age and older from a defined area, west of Sydney, Australia, participated. A total of 2900 participants (79.4%) completed accurate food records. INTERVENTION: Masked grading of stereoscopic macular photographs, detailed interviewer-administered questionnaire, and 145-item self- administered food frequency questionnaire. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Late ARM and early ARM were diagnosed from photographic grading. RESULTS: The authors found no statistically significant associations between ARM and dietary intake of either carotene, zinc, or vitamins A or C, either from diet or supplements or from the combined intake from diet and supplements. Multivariate-adjusted odds ratios (95% confidence interval) were calculated comparing highest to lowest dietary intake quintiles. For late ARM, the odds ratios were carotene, 0.7 (range, 0.3-2.0); vitamin A, 1.2 (range, 0.5-3.3); vitamin C, 1.3 (range, 0.5-3.4); and zinc, 1.0 (range, 0.4-2.8). For early ARM, the odds ratios were carotene, 0.7 (range, 0.4-1.1); vitamin A, 1.2 (range, 0.7-2.0); vitamin C, 0.9 (range, 0.5-1.4); and zinc, 0.8 (range, 0.5-1.3). No significant trends were apparent. Adjustment for energy intake also showed no associations between these antioxidants and ARM. Further, no associations were found between increasing intake of foods high in antioxidant vitamins and decreasing prevalence of either late or early ARM. CONCLUSIONS: The authors found no associations between ARM and dietary antioxidants, either from diet alone or including supplements, or from selected foods, in the Blue Mountains Eye Study population.