Melatonin (2005, 2009, 2013, 2020) and Macular Degeneration


Learn more about macular degeneration treatment and information.

2020 In lab animals with the characteristics of nonexudative age-related macular degeneration (NE-AMD) researchers investigated evidence that oxidative stress causes damage to retinal pigment epithelium and the retina. Melatonin, an antioxidant was found to protect visual function, reduce Bruch's membrane thickening, and reverse the decrease in RPE and melanin content and immunoreactivity.

Researchers: Dieguez, H.H., Gonzalez, F.M.F., Aranda, M.L., Calanni, J.S., Keller, S.M.I, et al.
Published: (2020). Melatonin protects the retina from experimental nonexudative age-related macular degeneration in mice. J Pineal Res. Mar 4;312643.

In another 2020 study, noting the link between impaired mitochondria generation and age-related macular degeneration, researchers investigated the value of melatonin's mitochondrial support capacity. " The mitochondrial respiratory system is considered a major site of [free radical] generation." The scientists found that melatonin reduces oxidative stress in mitochondria, and additionally reduces inflammation and cell death in the retina.

Researchers: Mehrzadi. S., Hemati, K., Reiter, R.J., Housseinzadeh, A.
Published: (2020). Mitochondrial dysfunction in age-related macular degeneration: melatonin as a potential treatment. Expert Opin Ther Targets. Apr;24(4):359-378.

2013 In another study Russian researchers reported similar results. Noting that melatonin content in the body declines as we age, the scientist state that this decline is a leading mechanism of aging, including development of macular degeneration.

Melatonin has been considered as a treatment for AMD on the basis of studies on its effect on the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). In this new study the researchers utilized lab animals with AMD to evaluated the effect of melatonin on the mechanics of development of macular degeneration.

They found that melatonin supplementation decreased retinal deterioration and improved some (not all) of the physical changes that come with retinal deterioration. However it did prevent changes in RPE structure and function and reduced the degree of neovascularization (growth of new blood vessels in the back of the retina which distort the retina/macula).

They found also that melatonin halted Importantly, Melatonin prevented destruction of cells in the retina, including retinal neurons. These results suggested melatonin as a possible therapeutic treatment for macular degeneration.

Researchers: N.A. Stefanova, et al.
Published: Potential of melatonin for prevention of age-related macular degeneration: experimental study (in Russian), Advances in Gerontology, 2013.


This double-blind study assessed whether melatonin levels were a significant issue in cases of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) patients. The researchers measured 6-sulfatoxymelatonin levels (aMT6s), which is the major metabolite of melatonin in 43 patients' urine, and compared it to 12 gender-matched controls. Variation in the diluteness of urine were taken into account by measuring the urinary creatinine level and aMT6s levels were expressed as aMT6s/creatinine.

The researchers found that the level of urinary aMT6s/creatinine in AMD patients was significantly lower than that of the controls. In addition, the researchers adjusted the resulting data for other factors such as age, smoking, cancer, and coronary heart disease that have been known to influence the aMT6s level. The researchers also examined the odds-ratio of urinary aMT6s and comparing AMD patients to controls was 0.65), indicating that urinary aMT6s level in AMD patients was lower than in controls even after multivariate adjustment. Urinary aMT6s level in AMD patients was 40% lower than in age-and gender-matched controls.

The researchers concluded that the significance of the result and the role of melatonin in AMD cases requires further investigation.

Researchers: Richard Rosen, et al
Published: Urinary 6-sulfatoxymelatonin level in age-related macular degeneration patients. Molecular Vision, August, 2009

2005 Researchers investigated the relationship between melatonin intake and macular degeneration progression. One hundred subjects who had either early or advanced AMD received a melatonin supplement which also contained zinc and selenium for a three month period. Another 55 patients continued the experiment for 6, 12 or 24 months. They were evaluated using standardized measures of macular degeneration progress at regular intervals.

The researchers found that during the initial two to three months of treatment the patients' vision remained stable. Most of the patients who continued for more than six daily use of the supplement had the health of the back of the eye improve markedly.

Researchers: Chanxian Yi, et al
Published: Effects of Melatonin in Age-Related Macular Degeneration, Annuals of the New York Academy of Science, 2005