Vitamin E scavenges free radicals, thus terminating the propagation step (described earlier in the chapter) and leading to interruption of the auto-oxidation reaction. A detailed study of the vitamin E content of microdissected parts of vertebrate eyes showed that the RPE is rich in vitamin E relative to photoreceptors and that photoreceptors are rich in vitamin E relative to most other cells in the eye. Furthermore, vitamin E levels in human retinal tissues increase with age until the sixth decade of life, after which they decrease. This decrease coincides with the age at which the incidence of AMD increases in the population.
Friedrichson T, Kalbach HL, Buck P, van Kuijk FJ. Vitamin E in macular and peripheral tissues of the human eye. Curr Eye Res. 1995;14(8):693–701.
Excerpted from BCSC 2020-2021 series: Section 2 - Fundamentals and Principles of Ophthalmology. For more information and to purchase the entire series, please visit https://www.aao.org/bcsc.