Large Study Supports Omega-3s for Healthy Eyes

March 14, 2011

An assessment of the diets of 38,022 women has concluded that higher fish consumption is associated with reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by as much as 42%.

An assessment of the diets of 38,022 women has concluded that higher fish consumption is associated with reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by as much as 42%. The population study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and will be published in the June issue of Archives of Ophthalmology.

Food frequency questionnaires were provided by 38,022 women with no history of age-related macular degeneration who participated in the Women’s Health Study, a historical human clinical trial assessing the effect aspirin and/or vitamin E on cardiovascular health.

Intake of omega-3 DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) was assessed in each subject through fish consumption rates. Follow-up questionnaires to track incidence of AMD were conducted over ten years.

During follow-up, 235 cases of AMD were reported. Subjects in the highest tertile of DHA intake, compared with those in the lowest tertile, demonstrated a 38% reduced risk of developing AMD. Comparable results were associated with highest consumption of EPA and both omega-3s.

Researchers further concluded that subjects who consumed at least one serving of fish per week showed a 42% reduced risk of AMD compared with subjects who consumed less than one serving of fish per month.

“This lower risk appeared to be due primarily to consumption of canned tuna fish and dark-meat fish,” the authors wrote.

Full text is currently available online for this population study on age-related macular degeneration and fish/omega-3 intake.