Is Resveratrol The Superior Treatment for Macular Degeneration?

A recent presentation at the Association for Research In Vision & Ophthalmology annual meeting brought into focus the potential of resveratrol to treat or prevent macular degeneration (for its part, macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in older adults – it affects the ability to see things clearly). 
The presenter - Dr. Stuart Richer, Director of the Ocular Preventative Medicine Eye Clinic in Chicago – gave resveratrol based pills (brand name Longevinix) to 17 sufferers of macular degeneration - all who had tried, but were not helped by current therapies. Amazingly, 16 of these patients benefited from resveratrol – some in an astounding manner.
For instance, according to Dr. Richer, in one case the resveratrol supplement helped an 88 year old woman regain her ability to read and see faces in four days. The doctor also reported that a 75 year old male patient with worsening vision regained his prior vision in five days. 
Editor’s Note: Although it should be considered that these are not results from a double blind large scale study, they are impressive none the less; especially considering that resveratrol can be taken orally, is widely available, and inexpensive. Compare this to the current therapies for macular degeneration – in short, they are draconian and expensive. Specifically, the ‘modern’ way to treat macular degeneration is to visit a specialized eye doctor and allow them to stick a syringe in your eye and inject the drugs Lucentis or Avastin. Anybody who knows someone who has gone through this procedure knows the trauma – emotional and physical (i.e. side effects) that it can cause. 
What’s more, these therapies can be very expensive.   For its part, a single dose of Lucentis is $1,950 dollars. Avastin, which one study concluded has a higher risk of complications than Lucentis, carries a single dose of $50. In any case, the question must be asked - If resveratrol therapy is far easier, cheaper, and possibly more effective (Dr. Richer’s patients were not significantly helped by Lucentis or Avastin but were helped by resveratrol) then why wouldn’t resveratrol become the standard therapy for macular degeneration treatment. After Dr. Richer’s findings, it would seem the federal government would push heavily for resveratrol studies to treat macular degeneration – especially considering that in 2010 macular degeneration treatment with Lucentis was the biggest expenditure in the pharmaceutical budget of Medicare Part B.

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