Eating more Omega3 may well help prevent blindness from Age Related Macular Degeneration
One of the most common causes of blindness in elderly people is Macular Degeneration, or what is generally called ARMD, or Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Can ARMD be prevented? What role can the Omega 3 fatty acids have, if any, in the prevention of age-related macular degeneration.
As you get older your vision gradually deteriorates. For many people this simply means that they require reading glasses when reading the paper. For some people the deterioration of their vision can mean blindness.
In fact the leading cause of blindness amongst older people is macular degeneration. Macular degeneration occurred when part of the retina in the eye begins to deteriorate. And it is the macular is the middle of the retina and is responsible for both colour vision and also for details, and in other words the vision that we need for reading and other specific detailed tasks like threading a needle.
As this degeneration progresses the sufferer gradually started to notice the degeneration and their vision, ultimately, in many cases, leading to legal blindness or complete blindness.
It is not clearly established what causes macular degeneration, though some of the risk factors, such as smoking and obesity, are recognised. It would also appear that the conditions genetic is a family history of macular degeneration is a recognised risk factor.
And obviously age is also recognised as a risk factor. It is not yet totally clear, though suspected that lifelong exposure to strong sunlight also increases the likelihood.
Research is now showing an increase in the intake of the essential fatty acids DHA and EPA found in fish can help protect against the onset of macular degeneration.
This makes sense when one considers that the most important of the Omega 3 essential fatty acids is DHA and DHA makes up a large percentage of the retina. It is also known that increasing the amount of DHA in the diet of infants improves the development of infant vision.
The conclusion of the study is that there is “protection against early AMD from regularly eating fish”. It is also noted that there is some protective effect from the consumption of nuts. 1 to 2 servings per week of March also reduced the incidence of ARMD, as was one serving of fish per week.
These results would have been duplicated in other studies, where it has also been found that ALA, another form of Omega 3 fatty acid commonly found in plants, can actually increase the risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration.
Vegetarian Omega 3 supplements commonly contain ALA, whereas fish oil supplements contain DHA and EPA, the Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish. The best fish oil supplements contain high levels of both DHA and EPA, though not all fish oil supplements contain such high levels.
Going blind, or partially blind, is one of the most unpleasant and stressful experiences for the elderly, for obvious reasons. The author has personal experience of this, knowing someone who has now gone almost completely blind from macular degeneration, and for her, it’s too late. There is no cure at present and no amount of Omega 3 fatty acids will, as far as we know, reverse the condition.
So eat your fish or take your fish oil supplements regularly for the sake of your health.Written by - Omega 3 Fish Oil