A combination of antioxidants and zinc could delay the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and vision loss, scientists write this week. Researchers at the Eye Centre at Memorial, Albany, New York aimed to evaluate the effect of high-dose vitamins C and E, beta carotene, and zinc supplements on AMD progression and visual acuity. During an 11-centre double-masked clinical trial 3640 enrolled study participants were randomly assigned to receive daily oral tablets containing: (1) antioxidants (vitamin C, 500 mg; vitamin E, 400 IU; and beta carotene, 15 mg); (2) zinc, 80 mg, as zinc oxide and copper, 2 mg, as cupric oxide; (3) antioxidants plus zinc; or (4) placebo. Both zinc and antioxidants plus zinc significantly reduced the odds of developing advanced AMD in the higher-risk group. The only statistically significant reduction in rates of at least moderate. The scientists recommend in the October issue of the Archives of Opthamology that "Persons older than 55 years with… advanced AMD or vision loss due to AMD in 1 eye, and without contraindications such as smoking, should consider taking a supplement of antioxidants plus zinc such as that used in this study." Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of visual impairment and blindness in the United States and elsewhere among people 65 years or older. At present, there is no proven treatment that slows or prevents the development of advanced AMD.