2016 Volume 240 Issue 3 Pages 209-214
Dry form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) constitutes 90% of AMD cases, and it is characterized by the formation of drusen under the retina and the slow breakdown of the light-sensing cells in the macula, which causes a gradual loss of central vision. Since oxidative stress is involved in the pathogenesis of dry AMD, α-lipoic acid (LA) with antioxidant properties was selected, and its effect on anti-oxidative markers and visual quality in patients with dry AMD was assessed. A total of 100 dry AMD patients (60-83 years old) were randomly assigned to LA treatment group (n = 50) and placebo control group (n = 50). We measured the serum superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, an important marker of antioxidant defense, best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA), contrast sensitivity, and Chinese-Version Low Vision Quality of Life (CLVQOL) before and after LA or placebo intervention. Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated to explore the relationship between contrast sensitivity values and CLVQOL scores. There was a statistically significant increase in serum SOD activity after LA intervention. The CLVQOL score was improved significantly after LA treatment. The contrast sensitivity measured at middle and low spatial frequency was significantly higher after LA treatment. CLVQOL scores were positively correlated with contrast sensitivity at low spatial frequency (3 cyc/degree) in LA-treated group. These results indicate that LA treatment improves vision-related quality of life in patients with dry AMD probably by increasing antioxidant activity. Thus, LA can be regarded as a promising agent for the treatment of AMD.