This month the optometry world was set alight by new research that suggested that fish oil may be of help when it comes to helping prevent degenerative eye diseases. Oily fish, and in particular the omega-3 fatty acids that it contains, seems to be a new wonder drug. It has recently been shown to slow the effects of senile dementia and now it seems that it could also be linked to the prevention of ocular diseases.
Optometrists have found that omega-3 fatty acids could protect cells in the retina from a number of conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) and retinitis pigmentosa. This is exciting news because ARMD is the main cause of blindness amongst elders over the age 65.
The macula is the retina’s central and most significant part. It is responsible for recording images and sending them from the eye to the brain via the optic nerve. If also focuses the central vision required for driving, reading, and recognizing faces. With age-related ARMD, the central part of the retina (which is the macula) deteriorates and impairs vision. Omega-3 fatty acids are contained in RPE cells, retinal pigment epithelium, which are vitally important for the survival of photoreceptor cells.
RPE cells help to protect the photoreceptor cells along with another chemical called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The new research suggests that Omega-3 fatty acids from fish, and particularly DHA, reduces the risk of ARMD by 30%, increasing the protection of the photoreceptor cells.
Fish oil tablets can be found at your local vitamin or drug stores.