Prevent Macular Degeneration With Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Prevent Macular Degeneration With Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Macular degeneration is a disease that affects a person’s central vision, in essence causing a blind spot in the center of the eye. Vision loss is usually gradual. In fact, someone with macular degeneration in only one eye (fairly common during the onset of this disease) may not notice any symptoms. The problems largely arise when both eyes become affected, which results in the person becoming legally blind.

There are two types of macular degeneration: dry and wet. The dry type is the result of the normal aging process. It occurs when the retinal pigment epithelium breaks down, causing the waste buildup that brings about this eye disease. The wet type occurs when atypical blood vessels grow out of control, putting pressure on the retinal pigment epithelium. The result is scar tissue, which creates the central blind spot that is a distinguishing characteristic of this eye disease.

The good news is that research is underway to find ways to prevent and treat the ill effects of macular degeneration. As reported in the August 2009 issue of the American Journal of Pathology, recent studies have detected a direct link between macular degeneration prevention and omega-3 intake.

The latest findings indicate that an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet may assist in the prevention of age-related macular degeneration. The omega-3 appears to protect eye health by reducing the retinal lesions that create the “blind spot” effect by blocking a person’s central field of vision. In mice that were fed a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids, researchers noticed that they had an increased number of anti-inflammatory molecules while also showing a reduction in inflammatory molecules.

Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids include: coldwater fish (such as tuna and salmon), walnuts, olive oil, citrus fruits, and leafy green vegetables. Signs of a deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids include: fatigue, heart problems, dry skin, memory problems, mood swings, dry eye syndrome, poor circulation, and depression.

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