Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake Reduces Risk Of Age-Related Macular Degeneration In Women

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Regular consumption of fish and omega-3 fatty acids found in fish is associated with a significantly reduced risk of developing age-related  HYPERLINK “http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/152105.php” \o “What Is AMD? What Is Macular Degeneration?” macular degeneration in women, according to a report posted online this month that will appear in the June issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology, a monthly professional medical journal published by the American Medical Association.

“An estimated nine million U.S. adults aged 40 years and older show signs of age-related macular degeneration (AMD),” the authors write as background information in the article. “An additional 7.3 million persons have early age-related macular degeneration, which is usually associated with moderate or no vision loss but does increase the risk of progression to advanced age-related macular degeneration.”

Using the Women’s Health Study, William G. Christen, Sc.D., of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues collected data on 38,022 women who had not been diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration. Information on women’s eating habits was obtained via questionnaire at the beginning of the study and included information on intake of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) [Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish], and arachidonic acid and linoleic acid (omega-6 fatty acids). During ten years of follow-up, additional questionnaires tracked the women’s eye health, with specific focus on diagnosis of age-related macular degeneration. 

Over the course of follow-up, 235 cases of age-related macular degeneration were reported. In analyses that adjusted for age and treatment assignment, women who consumed the most DHA compared with women who consumed the lowest amount had a 38 percent lower risk of developing age-related macular degeneration. Similar results were observed for higher intake of EPA and for higher consumption of both types of acid together.

Results for fish intake showed that consumption of one or more servings of fish per week, when compared to less than one per month, was associated with a 42 percent lower risk of age-related macular degeneration. “This lower risk appeared to be due primarily to consumption of canned tuna fish and dark-meat fish.”

For omega-6 fatty acids, higher intake of linoleic acid but not arachidonic acid was associated with an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration, however this association was non-significant after adjustment for other risk factors and fats.

“In summary, these prospective data from a large population of women with no prior diagnosis of AMD indicate that regular consumption of DHA and EPA and fish significantly reduced the risk of incident AMD,” the authors conclude.

Written by Trevor Miranda

Dr. Miranda was raised in Simcoe, Ontario and graduated from the University of Waterloo with his Doctorate of Optometry in 1995. Following graduation, he moved to beautiful Vancouver Island, where he continues to serve the eye care needs of the Cowichan Valley. Trevor is also an active member of the Third World Eye Care Society and has participated with other professionals to improve the vision of the less fortunate. Dr. Miranda was named Optometrist of the Year by the British Columbia Association of Optometrists in March 2015. This prestigious honour recognized Dr. Miranda’s commitment to providing every patient with exceptional care while mentoring optometrists across Canada. Outside the office, you will find Trevor enjoying hockey, coaching soccer, involved with the South Cowichan Rotary Club, and spending time with his wife Cheryl and their three children. Trevor looks forward to continuing to care for the eyes of the Cowichan Valley and welcomes new patients without a referral. Dr. Miranda is available for appointments in our Duncan and Cobble Hill.
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