Do the types of fats and oils we consume influence vision? An epidemiological research completed recently in Australia and published in Archives of Ophthalmology indicates that the incidence of age related macular degeneration (ARMD) is reduced in those who consume fish.
ARMD is the leading cause of severe visual loss in people over age 50. The macula is the special central area in the retina used for fine focus such as reading. There is a gradual loss of visual acuity as the macula degenerates with age. The study, done by researchers at the Australian National University, evaluated 3654 individuals aged 49 and over. The participants completed a detailed food questionnaire and had photographs taken of their macula. A higher frequency of fish consumption was associated with a decreased incidence of ARMD. It was also found that those with very high levels of cholesterol intake were more likely to have ARMD.
Ray Sahelian, M.D., author of Mind Boosters: A Guide to Natural Supplements That Enhance Your Mind, Memory, and Mood (St. Martin's Press, 2000), says, "I recommend fish oil supplements to individuals whose fish intake is very low. Clinically, I have noticed that fish oil supplements improve focus, color perception and clarity of vision." Dr. Sahelian has more information about the beneficial effects of fish oils at his web site, www.raysahelian.com. An FAQs section is available for readers who wish to have their questions about natural supplements answered by email.
Ray Sahelian, M.D., is a physician certified by the American Board of Family Practice. He resides in Marina Del Rey, California.
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Reference: Smith W, Mitchell P, Leeder SR. Dietary fat and fish intake and
age-related maculopathy. Arch Ophthalmol 2000 Mar;118(3):401-4; National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, Australian Capital Territory