Vitamin D3 (2007, 11, 12, 15) & macular degeneration


Learn more about macular degeneration recommendations.

Researchers have found that low levels of vitamin D3 in the body are connected to an increase in the presence of macular degeneration. The researchers assessed consumption of milk, fish, and vitamin D supplements. Patients who consumed less milk had more risk of early macular degeneration. Patient who consumed less fish had more risk of advanced macular degeneration. Patients who did not drink milk but who took vitamin D supplements had less risk of early macular degeneration.

The researchers concluded that vitamin D likely helps prevent against macular degeneration but that more investigation is needed to verify these results.

Researchers: Parekh N, Chappell RJ, Millen AE, Albert DM, Mares JA.
Published: Association Between Vitamin D and Age-Related Macular Degeneration in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988 Through 1994. Arch Ophthalmol. May 2007;125: 661-669.

Researchers furthered the research on vitamin D and macular degeneration risk factors in this study which reported that supplementation with vitamin D could lower AMD risk in women who were younger than age 75.

Researchers evaluated vitamin D in blood level data from over 1,300 women who were participants in the Women's Health Initiative Study. They found not only that vitamin D was helpful in women younger than 75, but that those women who included the most vitamin D in their diets had a 59% reduced risk of developing AMD compared to other women whose diets included the least amount of vitamin D. The vitamin D intake did not include D due to being in sunlight.

Researchers, Amy E. Millen, PhD, et al.
Published: Vitamin D and Macular Degeneration, Archives of Ophthalmology, 2011


Researchers, noting that vitamin D3 supports the immune system, helps remove amyloid beta and generally protect vision, reported that the outer retina of the eye with a high metabolic demand requires adequate nutrition. Lab animals treated with vitamin D3 displayed marked reductions in inflammation, levels of amyloid beta, and retinal macrophage quantities. Macrophages are large cells that surround and remove waste materials. High levels of macrophages indicate accumulations of waste. Inflammation and accumulation of waste are risk factors for macular degeneration and the lab animals displayed significant improvements in vision.

Researchers: V. Lee, E. Rekhi, et al.

Published: Vitamin D rejuvenates aging eyes by reducing inflammation, clearing amyloid beta and improving visual function, Neurobiology of Aging, October, 2012.

This study looked at the mechanics of vitamin D's beneficial influence on preventing AMD. Researchers have determined that genetic risk is strongly tied to development of macular degeneration due to the behavior of a specific gene variant causing an immune response to the presence of protein and fat build-ups in the eye resulting in inflammation and the growth of new blood vessels (angiogenic) that distort the macula.

Noting that vitamin D has anti-inflammation and anti-angiogenic capacities, they wanted to find out whether vitamin D would lessen the immune response to protein and fat (drusen). They reported that vitamin D deficiency does increase AMD risk, and that this risk is the greatest in those people with the greatest genetic risk.

Researchers: Amy E. Millen, et al.
Published: Association Between Vitamin D Status and Age-Related Macular Degeneration by Genetic Risk. JAMA Ophthalmology, 2015