High intake of Fish Oil fatty acids decrease the risk of age related macular degeneration and blindness

December 04, 2009

The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish affect processes strongly connected to disease of the retina of the eye and may help prevented age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The researchers undertook a study within a multicenter phase 3 clinical trial; the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), to study progression to advanced AMD in 1837 persons at moderate-to-high risk of this condition.
     The AREDS was designed to assess the clinical course, prognosis, risk factors, and nutrient-based treatments of AMD and ran from November 1992 to December 2005. We obtained baseline data on fish oil intake with a validated food-frequency questionnaire. Trained fundus graders ascertained AMD status from annual stereoscopic color photographs by using standardized methods at a single reading center across a 12-year period.
     Participants who reported the highest omega-3 fatty acid intake were 35% less likely than their peers to develop central geographic atrophy (CGA). Dry macular degeneration is the most common form of the disease affecting 90% of sufferers. CGA refers to ther lesion that occurs to the eye causing a loss of central vision. People who consumed a lots fish oils were 32% less likely to develop neovascular AMD over the 12 year period. This is the more severe form leading to 90% of all cases of blindness caused by AMD even though it affects only 10% of sufferers. In this more dangerous form abnormal blood vessels form beneath the retina of the eye. These vessels bleed and lead to scarring in the eye. The study is published in the December 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
> AREDS stands for the Age-Related Eye Disease Study
> Participants in the study include;
The National Eye Institute, Bethesda, MD 
The EMMES Corporation, Rockville, MD (TEC)
The Department of Ophthalmology, George Washington University, Washington, DC