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Eating Fish Might Protect Your Eyesight
Date:3/14/2011

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, March 14 (HealthDay News) -- Women who consume fish regularly -- and the abundance of omega-3 fatty acids found in that meal choice -- have a lower risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), new research suggests.

This latest evidence of a protective link between fish oil and eye health mirrors past research that has found the same benefit. In this study, Harvard researchers performed a dietary analysis on more than 38,000 women.

"Our observational data needs to be confirmed in randomized trials," cautioned study author William G. Christen, an associate professor with the division of preventive medicine in the department of medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

"But already the message seems to be simple and strong," Christen added. "Fish oil, that is the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, that have long been thought to be protective against cardiovascular disease may also be of significant benefit in the primary prevention of AMD among women who have no disease or have undetected early signs of disease, and have not yet been diagnosed with AMD."

Christen and his colleagues report on their research, which was funded partly by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, in the March 14 online edition of the Archives of Ophthalmology. The study will also appear in the June print issue of the journal.

The authors noted that about 9 million U.S. adults over the age of 40 have experienced some degree of AMD. Most have an early-stage form of the disease, while about 1.7 million have the advanced stage of illness that results in a serious loss of vision.

To date, there is no recognized method, aside from advising patients not to smoke cigarettes, to prevent or slow the onset of AMD among those who do not have the disease or only display the symptoms of early illness.

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