glaucoma is a remarkable social issue being the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. It is a progressive neuropathy characterized by the death of the retinal ganglion cells, of which the most important risk factor is represented by the increase of intraocular pressure (IOP). The role of nutraceutical supplementations with anti-oxidant activity has been extensively tested in preclinical models of glaucoma. The clinical efficacy of nutraceuticals in glaucoma is still controversial.
the aim of this systematic review is to assess the efficacy of nutraceuticals with anti-oxidant activity in glaucoma through the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses) rigorous criteria.
the literature search has been performed on the electronic databases currently recognized of most relevance for medical scientific literature, i.e. PubMed, MEDLINE, The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) with access to EMBASE, ClinicalTrials.gov and Scopus. The date of last search is April 8th, 2020. Study eligibility criteria, participants, and interventions: prospective randomized clinical trials assessing the effects of nutraceuticals and anti-oxidants on IOP and/or visual field in patients with glaucoma. The eligible papers must be published in English and available in full text.
the evaluation of the eligibility of the studies has been carried out independently by two authors. The selection process has followed the PRISMA flow diagram, assessing the quality of the body of evidence and the risk of bias.
the search of literature has retrieved 1615 papers and 2 clinical trials with results, among which only 6 are eligible for inclusion in the present systematic review to address the preset participants, interventions, comparisons, outcomes and study design (PICOS) “are the nutraceuticals effective in glaucoma?”. In 5 out of 6 studies the nutraceutical supplementation is effective in providing additional decrease of IOP to current usual therapy, without the occurrence of side effects. However, all the studies present high heterogeneity and some concerns in terms of risk of bias, apart from one trial for which the risk of bias is low.
the evidence of effectiveness of nutraceutical formulations is still uncertain and inconclusive. Therefore, large double-blind randomized clinical trials with adequate design, methodology and statistical power are needed to support the use of nutraceuticals in glaucoma.
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