New supplement may help fight blindness

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Macular degeneration

A new supplement containing zeaxanthin, a nutrient which is thought
to slow or even prevent macular degeneration, has been launched by
the US group ZeaVision. Macular degeneration is a leading cause of
blindness in people over the age of 55.

A new supplement containing zeaxanthin, a nutrient which is thought to slow or even prevent macular degeneration, has been launched by the US group ZeaVision. Macular degeneration is a leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 55.

The ZeaVision supplement claims to be the only product on the market able to deliver sufficient levels of zeaxanthin to the macula, where it helps repair and protect the eye from the damaging effects of ageing and the most harmful rays of light.

Zeaxanthin occurs naturally in foods such as corn, oranges, eggs and certain leafy green vegetables. The nutrient is thought to be critical for eye health, and yet it is nearly impossible to meet the body's zeaxanthin requirements by food intake alone.

Researchers believe that zeaxanthin provides crucial protection against the high-energy blue wave light that is processed through the macula. It also acts as an antioxidant, protecting the eye's photoreceptor cells and maintaining its ability to keep central vision strong. Clinical research has also demonstrated that zeaxanthin may help prevent macular degeneration, the company said.

However, ZeaVision stressed that while there was a growing body of evidence to suggest that restoring zeaxanthin levels may help slow the progression of the disease, further study was needed, and to that end it would continue to participate in and support ongoing research on zeaxanthin.

"In short, ZeaVision acts like 'nature's sunglasses,' shielding the eyes while allowing them to repair and heal,"​ said ZeaVision vice chairman and president Steven N. Frank. "For the more than 17 million people already suffering from macular degeneration and the nearly 500,000 new patients diagnosed each year, that means new hope and the promise of a better quality of life."

Zeavision is available in two dosages - a 10 mg supplement for people who have been diagnosed with, or who are at increased risk of, macular degeneration, and a 3 mg supplement for people with low or no known risk factors for macular degeneration but who want to maintain healthy levels of zeaxanthin.

"The diagnosis of macular degeneration is so devastating because, until now, there was very little that could be done as the disease slowly robbed patients of both their precious sight and their quality of life,"​ said Dennis L. Gierhart, chairman and CEO of ZeaVision. "The launch of ZeaVision is so deeply satisfying to us because it represents new hope for those suffering from this disease. It also represents more than a decade of collaboration by eye care professionals, scientists, vision loss foundations and business partners."

ZeaVision​ currently holds three US patents for its eponymous formula, which it claims has been extensively tested and found to be safe with no known side effects or drug interactions.

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