Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Adult Eye Health


I am a firm believer in the difference that diet and nutrition plays in eye health, so I was interested in another recent study that confirms these benefits. In an 11-year study of nearly 15,000 U.S. male doctors 50 years or older, researchers found that long-term daily multivitamin use decreased the risk of cataract but had no significant effect on visually significant age-related macular degeneration.

As published in Ophthalmology, 14,641 males at least 50 years old took a daily multivitamin or placebo to examine effects on cataract incidence and visually significant AMD responsible for a reduction in best-corrected visual acuity to 20/30 or worse.

The abstract stated that over the average 11.2 years of treatment and follow-up, a total of 1,817 cases of cataract and 281 cases of visually significant AMD were confirmed. As for cataract incidence, 872 cases existed with the multivitamin group, compared to 945 with the placebo, and 152 cases of visually significant AMD were reported in the multivitamin group compared to 129 cases in the placebo group.

Given that an estimated 10 million adults in the U.S. have impaired vision due to cataract, even a modest reduction in that risk has potential to improve public health outcomes, as stated in a press release about the study by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Christen and colleagues found that this large middle-aged and older U.S. male cohort indicates that long-term daily multivitamin use modestly and significantly decreased the risk of cataract but had no significant effect on visually significant AMD.

There are however multiple studies that show the specific benefits of diet and supplementation in macular degeneration specifically with Lutein and Zeaxanthin. The other well known simple preventative mechanism for cataracts is to wear sunglasses.