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December 1989

The Therapeutic Use of Zinc in Macular Degeneration

Author Affiliations

Ann Arbor, Mich

Arch Ophthalmol. 1989;107(12):1723. doi:10.1001/archopht.1989.01070020805004

To the Editor.  —We read the article by Dr Newsome and colleagues1 with great interest. It was very exciting to learn that in such a well-designed, well-executed, and well-analyzed controlled study, zinc therapy had such a marked effect on reducing the progression of such an important and debilitating disease as macular degeneration. However, we were dismayed by the authors' emphasis on possible zinc toxicity. In their own terms, their abstract closes with, "Because of the pilot nature of the study and the possible toxic effects and complications of oral zinc administration, widespread use of zinc in macular degeneration is not now warranted." Elsewhere in the report the authors expresspecific concerns about anemia and worsening of cardiovascular disease.Our dismay arises from our team having spent the last 20 years administering zinc in relatively high doses to various types of patients and having a very difficult time identifying toxic effects.

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