By Tele Management 

elderly Cambodian woman having eyes examined

Cambodian woman having her eye checked by Seva. © Karl Grobl,

Oily fish, which are rich sources of omega 3 fatty acids, may be beneficial in helping preserve eyesight in elderly people, a new study has found. Earlier studies have also linked omega 3 fatty acids to reduced risk of the most common cause of blindness. European researchers report that eating oily fish at least once a week may cut the risk of a condition called age-related muscular degeneration (AMD) which is the major cause of blindness and poor vision. According to the National Eye Institute, age-related macular degeneration is of two types, wet AMD and dry AMD. The dry form is more common and can progress to wet AMD later on. In dry AMD light-sensitive cells in the macula break down in a slow manner eventually leading to complete loss of central vision. In wet AMD abnormal blood vessels behind the retina penetrate the macula and sometimes leak blood and other fluid damaging the macula. Women appear to be at an increased risk for AMD. Additional risk factors include family history, smoking and obesity. Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and their colleagues in seven European countries analyzed the association between fish intake and omega 3 fatty acids in wet AMD. The researchers assessed the dietary habits of the participants by conducting interviews. They found eating oily fish at least once a week reduced the risk of wet AMD by 50 percent. Specifically, participants were quizzed about their intake of omega 3 fatty acids like docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Furthermore, people who ate more than 300 mg of DHA and EPA had a 70 percent lower risk of developing wet AMD. Age-Related Macular Degeneration or AMD is the leading cause of blindness in people aged over 55 in the United States. Although the condition is diagnosed quite early, there is no clue if it will progress to vision loss. Age-related macular degeneration usually affects elderly people. The disease is painless and is linked to loss of central vision because of damage to a part of the eye called macula. The macula is important in distinguishing finer details of vision. While blindness is the final stage of the disease, not everyone who has it loses eyesight.

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