A new study has encouraging news for people interested in foods to boost eye health–especially if they like fish and seafood. Researchers tracked the diets of older people (aged 65 to 84) living along Maryland’s Eastern Seaboard, folks who considered seafood and fish a normal part of their diets. It turned out that, while all of the study participants ate fish/seafood at least once a week (on average), the people who ate varieties high in omega-3 fatty acids were less likely to develop advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in whites in the United States. High omega-3 fish include salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines.
Researchers knew from earlier studies that omega-3s were likely to be protective. High levels of omega-3s have been found in the eye’s retina, and it is possible that this nutrient is essential to healthy eyes and good vision. The new study also looked at whether zinc from crab and oysters had an impact on advanced AMD risk, but they didn’t find evidence of an effect. Zinc is considered protective against AMD and is included in a vitamin/nutrient supplement recommended by the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), a multi-year, government-funded project. The researchers think that no effect was seen in this case because the levels of zinc in the seafood were low compared to levels in the supplement.
From the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeSmart News December 2010