Consuming fatty acids may prevent AMD, study says

June 13, 2008

According to a meta-analysis published in the June issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, the consumption of foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish and flax, is linked to a reduction in the risk of age-related macular degeneration.

Victoria, Australia-According to a meta-analysis published in the June issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, the consumption of foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish and flax, is linked to a reduction in the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). There is a need for more clinical trials before researchers can advocate routine consumption of these foods for the prevention of AMD.

"AMD is the leading cause of severe vision loss among elderly people," write the authors. There are a few newer treatments for certain forms of AMD, but they are not without risk. "Thus, primary prevention of AMD by modifying risk factors (e.g., cigarette smoking) remains an important public health strategy."

Systemically reviewed studies that were published before May 2007 were looked at by researcher, Elaine W-T. Chong, MBBS, University of Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues to evaluate the potential association between omega-3 fatty acids and AMD prevention.

Patients with a high dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids had a 38% lower risk of late, more advanced AMD. Also, an association was observed between eating fish two times a week and having a reduced risk of both early and late AMD.