Tag Archives: macular degeneration

Study: Eyes benefit from eating fish

A new study reported yet another good reason to eat fish: Women whose diet was rich in omega-3 fatty acids found in fish were at significantly lower risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, according to a story in the New York Times.

The Harvard Women’s Health Study, which followed 39,876 women in midlife, had participants fill out detailed food-frequency questionnaires at the start of the study in 1993. After an average 10 years of follow-up, 235 of the women had developed macular degeneration, a progressive eye disease that is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in the elderly.

But the analysis, in Archives of Ophthalmology, found that women who had reported eating one or more servings of fish per week were 42 percent less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration than those who ate less than a serving each month. (Researchers adjusted the data to control for other factors linked to the disease, including smoking.)

Eating canned tuna and dark-meat fish like mackerel, salmon, sardines, bluefish and swordfish appeared to have the most benefit.

“We know that inflammatory processes are involved in A.M.D., and the omega-3 long-chain fatty acids do have an anti-inflammatory effect,” said the lead author, Dr. William G. Christen, an associate professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.


Stem cells may battle a form of blindness

A therapy derived from human embryonic stem cells may help millions of Americans battle a common form of blindness.

Advanced Cell Technology Inc. said Monday that it has received a green light from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to begin a clinical trial to test its therapeutic cells as a treatment for dry age-related macular degeneration, according to a story in the Chicago Tribune.

The company plans to enroll a dozen patients in a Phase I/II trial, which would primarily test the safety of the cells and whether they are well-tolerated by patients.

Age-related macular degeneration is a disease in which the macula – in the middle of the retina in the back of the eye – is gradually destroyed.

In the dry version of AMD, objects in the center of a patient’s visual field become blurry and they have trouble recognizing faces, according to the National Eye Institute.

Though there are treatments that may stall the progression of dry AMD, there is no cure. An estimated 10 million to 15 million Americans suffer from dry AMD, and that number is expected to rise as the population ages.