Photo of Macula HoleYour eyesight is a precious gift that should last a lifetime. Unfortunately, for the seven million people in the United States affected with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the loss of vision is a very real threat.
Women who regularly consume fish -- a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids -- may reduce their risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to research reported in the Archives of Ophthalmology (Volume 129, page 921).
Researchers analyzed data from 38,022 women without age-related macular degeneration enrolled in the Women's Health Study. At enrollment, participants answered a questionnaire about their eating habits, including their intake of omega-3 fatty acids -- docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) -- found in fish.
Over an average of 10 years, 235 cases of age-related macular degeneration were confirmed. Women who consumed the most DHA had a 38 percent lower risk of developing age-related macular degeneration compared with those who consumed the least. Similar results were observed for higher intake of EPA and for higher consumption of both types of fatty acid together.
Eating one or more servings of fish per week was associated with a 42 percent lower risk of age-related macular degeneration when compared with those who ate fish less than once a month. The lower risk appeared to be due primarily to the consumption of canned tuna fish and dark-meat fish, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Take away message. These findings add to a growing body of evidence that omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent age-related macular degeneration. Although it's too early to recommend omega-3s for this reason, it's certainly worth getting more in your diet because of their benefits to your heart.
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