Abstract Amyloid plaques consisting of aggregated Aβ peptide are a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. Among the different forms of Aβ, the one of 42aa length (Aβ42) is most aggregation-prone and also the most neurotoxic. We find that eye-specific expression of human Aβ42 in Drosophila results in a degeneration of eye structures that progresses with age. Dietary supplements of zinc or copper ions exacerbate eye damage. Positive effects are seen with zinc/copper chelators, or with elevated expression of MTF-1, a transcription factor with a key role in metal homeostasis and detoxification, or with human or fly transgenes encoding metallothioneins, metal scavenger proteins. These results show that a tight control of zinc and copper availability can minimize cellular damage associated with Aβ42 expression.