Australian researchers have found an association between a diet high in zinc and more favorable clinical outcomes in patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) already undergoing anti- VEGF treatment. Daily zinc intake affected the odds of both subretinal fluid and greater mean central macular thickness (CMT). The team presented their results at ARVO 2019 in Vancouver earlier this year.

The study assessed 547 patients to see if high intake in antioxidants and zinc, fruits, vegetables and fish had any impact on wet AMD patients being treated with anti-VEGF. Fluorescein angiography diagnosed wet AMD, and a validated food frequency questionnaire determined dietary intakes. OCT images recorded the presence of subretinal fluid and helped analyze CMT.

After comparing participants with daily zinc intake below 8.1mg (n=91) vs. above (n=333), the researchers found those with lower intake had greater odds of having subretinal fluid. They noted the association was stronger among those who had at least six months of anti-VEGF therapy. Participants in the bottom 25% of zinc intake, compared with the other 75%, had significantly greater mean CMT (254.81µm vs. 232.15µm, respectively). The study noted that no other dietary parameters were significantly associated with clinical outcomes, such as intraretinal fluid presence or pigment epithelial detachment, in wet AMD patients.

Detaram HD, Mitchell P, Russell J, et al. Dietary zinc intake is associated with key clinical outcomes in neovascular age-related macular degeneration patients. ARVO 2019. Abstract 53.