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Diet , Macular Degeneration,
And Green Tea

Diet, macular degeneration (AMD), and green tea

Age related diseases of the eye, such as glaucoma, cataracts, and AMD, are commonly involved in visual impairment and blindness in geriatric populations, causing additional disability and health care demands.

In addition to age, smoking and obesity are also risk factors.

Dietary antioxidants

Oxidative stress has also been implicated in the development of these diseases leading to the potential chemopreventive value of antioxidants in the daily diet.

Studies of natural dietary substances that may reduce the risk of these diseases of the eye have included antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals, with some success reported for lutein and zeaxanthin.

Green tea, with the powerful antioxidant EGCG, is also being studied.

An preliminary study showed that EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) from green tea was 10 times more powerful at protecting cells of the retina from oxidative damage than vitamin E (Zhang B and Osborne N, Oxidative-induced retinal degeneration is attenuated by epigallocatechin gallate, Brain Research, December 2006).

Reducing damage to the retina

Another risk factor is the development of these age-related diseases is damage from ultraviolet light (UVB). Another preliminary study showed that using extracted green tea polyphenols protected retinal cells from UVB damage by

  • improving cellular viability after stress

  • increasing the expression of the Survivin gene

  • reducing mitochondrial dysfunction, and

  • reducing DNA fragmentation (Xu JY et al, Green tea polyphenols attenuate ultraviolet B induced damage to human retinal pigment epithelial cells in vitro, Investigative Opthalmology and Visual Science, August 2010).

These studies open the door for new research into protective effects of daily green tea on age related diseases of the eye in humans.

Up to 30% of people over the age of 75 may acquire AMD or age-related macular degeneration, with the risk climbing rapidly after age 60.

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This page last updated by Sharon Jones on September 16, 2012

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