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Fatty Fish May Cut Risk of Macular Degeneration

Study Shows Omega-3s in Fish May Reduce Risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

March 14, 2011 -- Eating fatty fish one or more times a week may reduce your risk for developing age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss in people aged 60 and older.

The new findings appear online in the Archives of Opthalmology.

About 9 million Americans aged 40 and older show signs of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and 7.3 million more people have an early form of this potentially vision-robbing disease.

AMD targets the part of the eye that allows you to focus in on details (the macula). The disease destroys the sharp, central vision needed to see objects clearly, read, and drive. In some people the disease progresses slowly; in others, a faster progression can lead to vision loss in both eyes.

Women in the new study who got the highest amounts of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish, were 38% less likely to develop AMD than women who got the least DHA. Similar findings were seen regarding the highest consumption levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), another omega-3 found in fatty fish.

What’s more, women who ate one or more servings of fatty fish per week -- mainly canned tuna and dark-meat fish -- were 42% less likely to be diagnosed with AMD compared with women who ate fish less than once a month.

Salmon, trout, and sardines are also loaded with omega-3 fatty acids.

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