Omega-3s for Eye Health
Women who eat fish rich in omega-3s at least once a week may decrease their risk of age-related macular degeneration
Omega-3 fatty acids have gained widespread notice and popularity for their many health benefits. Now adding to that list, a study in the Archives of Ophthalmology finds that women who eat fish rich in omega-3s at least once a week may decrease their risk of age-related macular degeneration by almost half.
Food for your eyes
Age-related macular degeneration is a progressive condition that can lead to eventual blindness. With the exception of not smoking, there are few measures known to help prevent this condition. As a result, researchers in this study were interested in exploring dietary factors as a potential means to help prevent this disease.
In this study, 39,876 women (average age 55) were followed for an average of ten years for incidence of age-related macular degeneration. Participants filled out a baseline food questionnaire, including questions about the amounts and types of fish they ate. Results showed:
According to author William G. Christen and his colleagues from the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, "Fatty acids are known to exert anti-inflammatory, anti-atherosclerotic, and antithrombotic effects on the vasculature and may help to maintain or improve choroidal blood flow in the eye." Further research may determine if the findings in this observational study are supported.
Good habits for eye health
Our eyes are one of our most important organs for navigating and enjoying our environment, and following these few simple tips can help keep eyes healthy:
(Arch Ophthalmol. Published online March 14, 2011. doi:10.1001/archophthalmol.2011.34)
Jane Hart, MD, board-certified in internal medicine, serves in a variety of professional roles including consultant, journalist, and educator. Dr. Hart, a Clinical Instructor at Case Medical School in Cleveland, Ohio, writes extensively about health and wellness and a variety of other topics for nationally recognized organizations, websites, and print publications. Sought out for her expertise in the areas of integrative and preventive medicine, she is frequently quoted by national and local media. Dr. Hart is a professional lecturer for healthcare professionals, consumers, and youth and is a regular corporate speaker.