Natural Therapies for Macular Degeneration

Naturally Savvy
Naturally Savvy

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of visual loss in Europeans and North Americans over the age of 50. It is thought to be the direct result of free radical damage to the macula, a small area located at the centre of the retina. The macula is responsible for fine vision.

Patient Profile:

A 79-year-old woman recently consulted me because a top expert in eye diseases diagnosed her as having macular degeneration. She was told that nothing could be done and, to quote the specialist, “You are going to go blind.”

As it turns out, this was not only discouraging for my patient, but a completely wrong prediction.

Here’s the advice I gave this patient:

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• Eat more legumes, which have a cleansing effect due to their high content of sulphur-containing amino acids.

• Consume more fresh fruits and vegetables, especially yellow vegetables.

Berries are wonderful-particularly blueberries because of their high content of anthocyanidins.

Cherries are valuable because they offer carotenes, flavonoids, and vitamins E and C.

• Carotenoids-lutein and zeaxanthin-are most strongly associated with reduced risk of macular degeneration. The best sources are spinach, kale, and collard greens.


None of these natural supplements have any serious side effects. Take the following antioxidant supplements each day:

Beta-carotene: 100,000 IU

Green powder: Choose an enzymatically active green “superfood” powder. Green products are high in carotenoids. Take 1 tablespoon in 15 ml of water or juice.

Vitamin C: 2,000 mg three times daily

Pycnogenol: 300 mg (from either pine bark extract or grape seed extract)

Coenzyme Q10: 100 mg three times daily

Vitamin E: 400 IU three times daily

Selenium: 600 mcg

Zinc chelate or citrate: 100 mg. Several published studies support the use of zinc supplements to help reverse numerous eye disorders including macular degeneration.


Research reveals that the following botanical medicines also show impressive results with macular degeneration:

Ginkgo biloba extract: 250 mg

Bilberry extract: 80 mg twice daily (25% anthocyanidin content). Bilberry is used in Europe for cataracts, macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, and diabetic retinopathy. It can also prevent further damage from glaucoma by working as an antioxidant in the eyes. Its anthocyanidins increase vitamin C levels (a critical nutrient for healthy eyes) within the cells and decrease capillary fragility.


A six-month follow-up visit to the eye specialist showed complete clearing of this patient's macular degeneration.

Dr. Zoltan Rona

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Dr. Zoltan P. Rona is a graduate of McGill University Medical School (1977) and has a Master’s Degree in Biochemistry and Clinical Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut (1984). He is past president of The Canadian Holistic Medical Association (1987-88) and is the author of three Canadian bestsellers: The Joy of Health (1991), Return to the Joy of Health (1995) and Childhood Illness and The Allergy Connection (1997). He is co-author with Jeanne Marie Martin of The Complete Candida Yeast Guidebook (1996) and is the medical editor of the Benjamin Franklin Award winning Encyclopedia of Natural Healing (1998). He has had a private medical practice in Toronto for the past 35 years, has appeared on radio and TV as well as lectured extensively in Canada and the U.S. Dr. Rona currently writes regular articles for Reader’s Digest, Alive, Vitality magazine and for several web sites. His latest book “Vitamin D, the Sunshine Vitamin” was published in 2010. In 2011, Dr. Rona was named Chief Medical Advisor for NAKA Herbs and Vitamins and has developed a line of nutritional supplements (TriStar Naturals) which are sold in health food stores across Canada. He can be found at