A new theory has been proposed of the etiology of macular degeneration called “hormonal theory.” It was proposed by Dr. George Rozakis and Dr. Sergey Dzugan. This theory hypothesizes that low sex and adrenal hormone levels may cause the retinal macula to accumulate cholesterol in an attempt by the body to produce more hormones.

Cholesterol is a major contributor in making the body’s hormones. The macula’s accumulation of cholesterol may lead to the product of pathological drusen (excrescences of Bruch’s membrane consisting largely of cholesterol) and subsequent macular degeneration. 7

Sex Hormones and Macular DegenerationDrs. Rozakis and Dzugan are conducting a clinical study to determine if restoring optimal hormone balance while providing nutrients that support eye health can prevent or reverse the progression of macular degeneration.8 Dr. Dzugan has done numerous studies on the association between low hormone levels and the problem of atherosclerosis and cholesterol elevation.

Do statin drugs help? He found that statin drugs do not help remove drusens. In fact he is concerned that using statin drugs may actually increase the risk of macular degeneration.

Understanding why cholesterol is elevated is just as important as understanding how to treat it. Cholesterol helps synthesize hormones. Dr.’s Dzugan and Rozakis state that the cholesterol elevation is the body’s attempt to correct hormone depletion. Their theory is that excessive serum cholesterol reflects a sex hormone depletion.

What is needed is to test all hormone levels clinically in these patients. Saliva testing for sex hormones and adrenal hormones is an exact method of evaluating hormone levels. Hormone levels remain stable in saliva which increases their bioavailability. The authors are conducting a clinical study to determine whether hormone decline stimulates the liver to produce more cholesterol.9 Since hormones are known to benefit the brain, Dr. Rozakis theorizes that hormones may also benefit the macula.

If he is correct, restoring normal hormone levels should help to prevent and even improve the early-stage of macular degeneration. However, studies that focus on the balance of all hormones are greatly needed. The study should include all the sex hormones which are estradiol, estriol, testosterone, DHEA, and progesterone. Men of course do not have estriol. Careful clinical trials will be required to evaluate Dr. Rzakis’ theory of macular degeneration.  It makes more sense to try to halt the degenerative process before macular hemorrhaging occurs.

7   Dzugan SA, Arnold Sr. – Hypercholesterolemia Treatment:  a New Hypothesis or Just an Accident? – Med Hypothesis. 2002 Dec:  59(6) 751-6.
8   Preventing Macular Degeneration; A New Theory written by Deborah Yost – Life Extension Magazine, 2008 December page 37-43.
9  Tamer C. Oksuz H, Soquat S., Serum Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate Level in Age-Related Macular Degeneration (Am. J. Opthalmology 2007 Feb; 143/2): 212-6