A paper to be published in the August Edition of The American Journal of Pathology suggests that a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids reduces retinal lesions in mice. These Mice are designed to have macular degeneration allowing scientists to discover future therapies. By decreasing the lesions it is thought to decrease age related macular degeneration. Age related macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of blindness in older adults. In fact it is estimated that 10% of people between the ages of 66-74 years will develop the condition.
While the study is in mice it’s definitely worth increasing omega-3 in the diet as it also decreases the risk of heart disease and helps keep our triglycerides down and now it could be protective to our precious eyes.
At present a large multi-center trial in humans is underway, called Age Related Eye Disease Study 2 (ARED 2) looking at the effects of supplementing high doses of macular xanthophils and or omega-3. It hopes to include 4000 participants between the ages of 50-85 years and follow them for the next 5- 6 years.
So, for the time being, we will wait to find out the outcome of this landmark study, to obtain more definitive guidelines and to help spread the news about the benefits of seafood!