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Oily Fish Help Prevent Blindness

By Daniel H. Rasolt

Posted: Monday, August 11, 2008

(Defeat Diabetes® News) -- Eating oily fish on a consistent basis appears to help prevent blindness due to aging, concludes a group of London researchers.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide, and is even more prevalent in western countries (such as the United States and England). More specifically, "wet" AMD (as opposed to "dry"), is a leading cause of blindness, and is characterized by a hardening of the arteries that lead to the retina. In the worst cases, complete loss of vision can occur, but the severity of AMD ranges greatly.
Oily fish, such as salmon, herring and sardines, are strong sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown in previous research to have a range of benefits, including heart disease prevention and arthritis relief. Other strong sources of omega-3 are kiwi fruit, flaxseed oil and supplements.
The current research group aimed to investigate a possible connection between omega-3 fatty acids and age-related vision loss, through levels of oily fish consumption. Specifically, they aimed to find if eating oily fish could help prevent wet AMD.
By extensively questioning participants about their dietary habits, it was found that those participants who ate oily fish at least one time per week were 50% less likely to develop wet AMD, making the incidence of blindness significantly less for these individuals. The benefits were seen, according to study author Dr. Astrid Fletcher, from as little as "two 3oz servings a week of oily fish, such as salmon, tuna or mackerel."
The research team did not investigate other sources of omega-3, so it would be unfair to conclude that taking supplements, for instance, can help prevent wet AMD. Nonetheless, the foundations for this sort of research that could establish a general omega-3 fatty acid connection to wet AMD prevention are there. Even a small amount of oily fish, which is already known to help prevent conditions like heart disease, appears to be able to fend off wet AMD though, so it is a strong recommendation for oily fish to have a roll in all people's diets.

Source: Defeat Diabetes Foundation: Fletcher, Astrid. Howe, Gemma. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition news release. August 2008.

Daniel H. Rasolt writes for Defeat Diabetes® News. Read more of his original content articles.

Copyright © 2008 Defeat Diabetes Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved.

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