Posted on Dec 21, 2010, 6 a.m.
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (US) team elucidates nutrient mechanisms involved in the protective effect of an omega-3 rich diet on age-related macular degeneration.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in Caucasian Americans. High concentrations of omega-3s have been found in the eye's retina, and evidence is mounting that the nutrient may be essential to eye health. Sheila K. West, from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (Maryland, USA), and colleagues engaged 2520 Maryland residents, ages 65 to 84 years, to participate in a study assessing the role of a diet rich in fish and seafood, on AMD onset and progression. The team surveyed study subjects for fish and shellfish consumption over a one-year period, and assessed participants for AMD. Those with no AMD were classified as controls (1,942 persons), 227 had early AMD, 153 had intermediate-stage disease, and 68 had advanced AMD. In the advanced AMD group, the macular area of the retina exhibited either neovascularization (abnormal blood vessel growth and bleeding) or a condition called geographic atrophy. Both conditions can result in blindness or severe vision loss. The team found that while participants in all groups, including controls, averaged at least one serving of fish or shellfish per week, those who had advanced AMD were significantly less likely to consume high omega-3 fish and seafood. They conclude that: “These data support a protective effect of fish/shellfish intake against advanced AMD.”
Bonnielin K. Swenor, Susan Bressler, Laura Caulfield, Sheila K. West. “The Impact of Fish and Shellfish Consumption on Age-Related Macular Degeneration .” Ophthalmology, Volume 117, Issue 12, December 2010, Pages 2395-2401.