First evidence that dark adaptation in AMD patients may improve with daily supplement

By Liz Meszaros, MDLinx
Published May 12, 2017

Key Takeaways

In a small study, daily supplementation with the nutraceutical product Longevinex, (Resveratrol Partners, Las Vegas, NV) was shown to improve and even stabilize dark adaptation (DA)—the earliest functional sign of dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Results were presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology (ARVO), held in Baltimore, MD, in early May 2017.

Although large, randomized, controlled studies are needed to verify these results, researchers are hopeful.

 “If this continues to be demonstrated in larger groups, we just may have, for the first time, a preventive for the most common cause of visual decline in senior Americans,” said lead researcher Stuart Richer, OD, PhD, director, Ocular Preventative Medicine-Eye Clinic, James A Lovell Federal Health Care Center; and associate professor, family & preventive medicine, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science, North Chicago, IL.

Longevinex is a nutraceutical product based on resveratrol, a compound commonly found in grapes and red wine.

Dr. Richer and colleagues evaluated the DA of atrophic AMD patients both before and after treatment with Longevinex. DA measures photoreceptor/retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) health, which is known to gradually deteriorate in untreated and treated patients with AMD. This occurs despite treatment with Age-Related Eye Disease Studies (AREDS) I/II supplement and intravitreal anti-VEGF pharmacologic treatment. A DA of over 6.5 minutes can predict future vision loss by up to 4 years in those with perfect 20/20 vision and no other signs of eye disease.

“However, the greater application of this dark adaptation vision test is among family members of individuals who have been diagnosed with macular degeneration since prolonged dark adaptation time can predict future onset of this dreaded eye disease 4 years before it can be clinically diagnosed. Forty-five percent (45%) of the population who have a parent with macular degeneration will develop the disease in their lifetimes,” added Dr. Richer.

In eight patients with established atrophic AMD (16 eyes; 7 males; age range: 64 to 89 years; mean age: 80 years), Dr. Richer and colleagues measured baseline clinical DA threshold (log DB), time (min) and fixation (%). Patients were treated with Longevinex, one capsule daily in the morning for 5 weeks, and DA was measured again at various exams.

All patients had clinically diagnosed AMD and upon use of the AREDS antioxidant supplement formulated by the National Eye Institute, none had improvement in their vision. In addition, all subjects were taking other prescription medications, including antacids and statin drugs.

After the 5-week course of supplementation, all but two eyes improved by one or more of the three parameters used to measure DA, with DA times decreasing from ~17 minutes to ~9 minutes. One patient even exhibited improvement by retinal spectral-domain OC (expected vs actual Chi square, P=0.01).

“The first cases of DA stability/improvement are consistent with previous beneficial effects of Longevinex as well as putative enhanced choriocapillaris circulation. DA is the earliest functional AMD sign, and a prime candidate for ‘AMD prevention.’ This work merits expansion to a controlled study,” concluded these researchers.

Dr. Richer’s laboratory is the recipient of funding from Longevinex for research studies.

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