An extract from the humble marigold could save millions
Saturday December 3,2011
By Jo Willey, Health Correspondent
A DAILY supplement derived from marigolds is being hailed as a break- through in the fight against Britain’s most common cause of blindness.
It could prevent millions from losing their sight from age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
The potent pill contains three antioxidants vital to keeping the eyes healthy but not all are readily available through a normal diet.
One optometrist, Susan Bowers of Coventry, said the supplement, Macu-Shield, has improved the sight of hundreds of her patients and added: “I really believe this will help stop people going blind from this disease.”
Half a million people in Britain suffer from AMD, which causes blurring of the central vision, leaving victims unable to recog- nise faces, read or drive.
Striking after the age of 50, it can lead to total blindness, with about 90 per cent of cases proving untreatable.
Janet Terron, 64, of Kinver, Staffs, started taking the supplement when she was diagnosed two years ago.
Her mother has AMD and her grand- father lost his sight.
She said: “The difference is fantastic.”
Her optician Shamina Asif said: “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”
A yellow pigment at the back of the eye, which can decrease as people age, is thought to protect against AMD.
In an Irish trial the antioxidants – zeaxanthin, lutein and the most impor- tant, meso-zeaxanthin – increased levels of the pigment in all patients.
Professor John Nolan, of the Waterford Institute of Technology, has now won a prestigious grant to carry out further research.
He said: “I believe it may be the silver bullet in preventing AMD.”