High supplemental doses of vitamin D and resveratrol could help restore lost vision in patients with neovascular AMD, like this individual. Photo: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health
A non-prescription nutraceutical agent might help restore lost vision in patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD) who are otherwise unresponsive to anti-VEGF therapy, according to a series of case studies presented at this year’s annual ARVO meeting in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

The research focuses on an oral nutraceutical, Longevinex (Resveratrol Partners, LLC), which delivers high doses of vitamin D and resveratrol––the powerful antioxidant that is found predominantly in the skins of red grapes and other fruits.

Lead researcher, Stuart Richer, O.D., Ph.D., chief of optometry and director of ocular preventative medicine at James A. Lovell Federal Heath Care Center in North Chicago, Ill., and associates selected 17 patients with advanced neovascular AMD who did not respond to or were not candidates for laser treatment or anti-VEGF injection.

In 16 of the 17 patients, Dr. Richer’s team noted that scotomas began to disappear, glare recovery time was reduced, and both contrast sensitivity and visual acuity improved within three to six weeks of starting Longevinex therapy.

“With our instruments, we documented a more youthful appearance of retinal tissues as well as improved underlying circulation. There were also other improvements in health observed or measured outside of the eyes that were unanticipated,” Dr. Richer said. “This oral nutraceutical taps into the newly appreciated science of epigenetics, where gene protein-making switches are favorably turns on and off, and suggests that age-related eye problems may not be inevitably progressive and biological age is not necessarily cast in stone.”

Because the nutraceutical is not subject to FDA approval and may be purchased by anyone, Dr. Richer cautions that patients should discuss the potential benefits and risks of Longevinex use with their eye care providers before initiating therapy.

Richer SP, Stiles WR, Ulanski L 2nd, Thomas C. Observation of human retinal remodeling in octogenarians with resveratrol+. Poster presented at the Annual Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology meeting. Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. May 6-10, 2012.