Ramlah Akhtar, B.Optom

Academic Tutor, Era University, Lucknow, India


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common eye condition that causes vision loss in older age groups. (1) It is the third leading cause of visual impairment globally and a significant concern in developed countries. (2,3) AMD can be broadly classified into two types: Dry form which is characterised by loss of photoreceptors, dysfunction of the retinal pigmented epithelium and retinal degeneration. Wet form characterised by neovascularisation of the choroid accompanied by hemorrhage, leading to severe vision impairment.(3) Both types are not mutually exclusive. It is known that the dry form in some patients ultimately produces Choroidal Neovascularisation (CNV). It has been reported that in patients with CNV may demonstrate some degree of atrophy after certain years.(3)

Treatment Challenges and a Glimpse of Hope:

There are various treatments for AMD, but the treatment just delays the disease’s progression and resists its effects over time. It does not change the course of the disease at all. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) production is a sign of long-lasting cellular damage, and the antiangiogenic therapy aims to repair it, but it also has nothing to do with the prophylaxis and prevention of AMD development. However, current treatments may not provide long-term effectiveness in preventing AMD progression. Researchers are actively exploring alternative approaches to effectively manage this condition. (3,4)

The Calcium Surprise: A Vision-Saving Nutrient

A simple and common nutrient like calcium could be the key to safeguarding eyesight. Calcium is vital for various physiological functions. Recent studies showed that calcium plays a significant role in delaying the progression of AMD.(5) Calcium is a universal second messenger that regulates the most crucial activities of eukaryotic cells. It is significant to neurons because it plays an important role in the depolarising signals propagation, triggers synaptic activity via plasma membrane receptors and voltage-dependent ion channels. Several neurodegenerative disorders are believed to be influenced by calcium dyshomeostasis, such as Alzheimer’s disease. It has been suggested that age-related dysfunction of cellular and intracellular organelle membranes may lead to cell damage and neurological dysfunction. (6)

Connecting the Dots: How Calcium Links to AMD:

Studies have found a significant association between calcium and AMD. People with a higher consumption of dietary calcium have a low occurrence of AMD and lower consumption have higher risk of AMD. While further research is needed to understand the underlying mechanisms fully, the evidence supporting the calcium-AMD connection is promising. (7) The potential of daily consumption of dairy products is to reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease (CVD). These risk factors are connected to AMD as well. So, there is a possibility that such dairy products in the diet may additionally have implications for reducing the risk of AMD. (5,6)


A lower consumption of dietary calcium may increase the risk of AMD and higher dietary calcium consumption might prevent AMD. So, incorporating calcium-rich foods in the regular diet helps in preventing AMD and to maintain healthy vision.



  1. Foran, S., Wang, J. J., & Mitchell, P. (2003). Causes of visual impairment in two older population cross-sections: the Blue Mountains Eye Study. Ophthalmic epidemiology, 10(4), 215-225.
  2. Bressler, N. M. (2004). Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness… Jama, 291(15), 1900-1901.
  3. Hernández-Zimbrón, L. F., Zamora-Alvarado, R., Velez-Montoya, R., Zenteno, E., Gulias-Cañizo, R., Quiroz-Mercado, H., & Gonzalez-Salinas, R. (2018). Age-related macular degeneration: new paradigms for treatment and management of AMD. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity, 2018.
  4. Paneerselvam, S., Narendran, N., Tahir, M., & Yang, Y. Age-related macular degeneration: focus on wet macular degeneration. Foundation Years Journal, 10(6) , p.12 …2012
  5. Lim, L. S., Mitchell, P., Seddon, J. M., Holz, F. G., & Wong, T. Y. (2012). Age-related macular degeneration. The Lancet, 379(9827), 1728-1738.
  6. Lamarche, B. (2008). Review of the effect of dairy products on non-lipid risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 27(6), 741S-746S.
  7. Chen, Y. Y., & Chen, Y. J. (2023). The Relationship between Dietary Calcium and Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Nutrients, 15(3), 671.