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Vitamin A Supplements do not Improve Vision for Individuals with Retinitis Pigmentosa

A new study from Dr. Eric Pierce and Dr. Jason Comander at Mass Eye and Ear does not show any benefit to taking high-dose vitamin A supplements for people with retinitis pigmentosa (RP).

An older study looking at patient data from 1984-1991 had originally suggested that taking vitamin A supplements could in a small way slow the loss of vision for individuals with RP. The study also found that taking vitamin E supplements increased vision loss.

In this newer study, published in the journal JCI Insight, Dr. Pierce and his team looked at additional longer-term data from the original patients. The new analysis confirmed that vitamin E supplements should be avoided by patients with RP, but did not show any benefit from taking vitamin A. In the original study the impact of vitamin A supplements on vision was very small, and the results have been controversial. This new study suggests there is no benefit to vitamin A supplements for people with RP.

Other studies have previously suggested that for individuals with Stargardt’s disease, vitamin A supplements can increase retinal degeneration and should be avoided.

About Fighting Blindness Canada:

Fighting Blindness Canada (FBC) is the largest charitable funder of vision research in Canada.

Over our 49-year history, FBC has contributed critical funding for the development of sight-saving treatments and cures for blinding eye diseases. By raising and stewarding funds, FBC is helping drive forward research that supports our goal of understanding why vision loss occurs, how it can be slowed and how sight can be restored.

We are an invaluable resource for individuals and families impacted by blindness, providing accurate eye health information through our website and educational events, as well as engaging with government and other stakeholders to advance better vision health policies.

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