Risk for Macular Degeneration Reduced by Omega-3 in Women

Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is a medical condition in primarily older adults that results in a loss of vision in the center of the visual field (the macula) because of damage to the retina in the eye.  AMD makes it difficult or impossible to read or recognize faces, although enough peripheral vision remains to allow other daily activities like eating and cooking.

Typical view for someone with AMD

A new study done by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School collected data including diet from 38,022 women who were not diagnosed with AMD.  After 10 years, they confirmed  235 cases of AMD.  After adjusting for age and treatment, they found that the women who consumed the most omega 3 fatty acid (found in fish) has a 38% lower risk of developing AMD.   In terms of fish intake, they found that consumption of one or more servings of fish per week, when compared to less than one serving per month, was associated with a 42 percent lower risk of AMD.  The full article is published in the Archives of Ophthalmology.

I read another study done on women in Australia that found a similar result and I can’t help but wonder if these results would be found in men, too.   My father (as his father) has AMD and he has lived in Florida on the Gulf for more than 40 years.  An avid fisherman, he and my mom  ate fish several times a week but it didn’t seem to stop him from getting AMD?  I wonder if family history out trumps omega-3 consumption.    This is another example of why sex-based research (both men and women) is so important!