Beta carotene "effective in combating RP"

Beta carotene "effective in combating RP"

A new study has found that beta carotene can help to improve vision in people suffering from the retinal disease retinitis pigmentosa (RP).

The condition can result in incurable blindness and its symptoms include night blindness in childhood and loss of peripheral vision, but experts from the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) claim that beta carotene can combat the disease.

A study led by Dr Ygal Rotenstreich, an AAO researcher, found that one-third of 29 patients taking beta carotene showed improved visual function after 90 days.

Dr Rotenstreich said the AAO would recommend repeating the study and including patients with genetic forms of RP that would be more likely to respond to oral beta carotene.

"We know its positive effect is associated with retinoid cycle defect, which is involved in some but not all forms of RP. Also, future research should look for the optimal beta carotene dosage," he suggested.

Recently, a research group led by Dr Jason Slakter at the New York University School of Medicine found that a drug commonly used to treat arthritis sufferers may also be effective in tackling dry age-related macular degeneration.

by Emily Tait

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