Eye Health

15 March 2011

Omega-3s are good for your eyesight

Women who get lots of omega-3 fatty acids may be less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a new study concluded.


Women who get lots of omega-3 fatty acids may be less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a new study concludes.

The study was observational, so it's too early to recommend that people start changing their diet to prevent AMD, the authors note.

But they say their findings support earlier research linking slower progression of AMD to consumption of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, trout, sardines, herring and tuna.

"Other than giving up cigarette smoking or never starting smoking, there are no known ways to prevent AMD," said coauthor William G. Christen of the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

The study

For a study published online today in the Archives of Ophthalmology, Christen and colleagues used questionnaire data from the Women's Health Study.

After 10 years, 235 out of 38,022 women aged 45 and older at baseline had developed AMD severe enough to damage their vision.

When the researchers looked at all food sources of the important fatty acids, the risk of AMD was 38% lower in women with highest tertile of intake vs. the lowest. For those who got a lot of EPA, the risk was 34% lower.

"We also looked at the food intake of (just) fish and the data were consistent there," said Christen.

The results support the need for randomised trials, said Christen. In the meantime, he adds, "The best advice we have at this point is, don't smoke."(Reuters Health/ March 2011)

Read more:
Omega 3 vs. Omega 6


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Megan Goodman qualified as an optometrist from the University of Johannesburg and is currently practising at Tygerberg Academic Hospital in Cape Town. She has recently completed a Masters degree in Clinical Epidemiology at Stellenbosch University. She has a keen interest in ocular pathology and evidence based medicine as well as contact lenses.

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