Blind World

Glaucoma and Macular Degeneration.
Statins and Eating Fruit Could Prevent Blindness.

June 15, 2004.

By Dr. Kim Mulvihill,

Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is the leading cause of blindness among older Americans.

But there may be an easy way to keep it from happening.

"We found that fruit intake was related to a reduced risk of AMD," said Dr. Eunyoung Cho of Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Researchers found that people who ate at least three servings of fruit a day had a 36% lower risk of developing AMD. Scientists don't know the exact reason why, but they do know that you should eat plenty of fruit.

"Now you have another reason to increase your fruit intake," said Cho.

The finding doesn't come as a shock, as fruit as multiple health benefits. But what might be surprising is a second study that took a look at statins. Researchers found these cholesterol-lowering drugs may also benefit your eyesight.

"While they clearly are effective in lowering cholesterol, which is what they're primarily prescribed for, they may have other effects on the body," said Dr. Gerald McGwin, Jr. of the University of Alabama.

Researchers found that, like fruit, statins may also reduce the risk of AMD. But this latest study found that the pills might also stop the development of glaucoma, which robs peripheral vision.

"People who used statins for two years or more had a 40% reduced risk for glaucoma," said McGwin.

Experts aren't sure why statins may aid in the prevention of glaucoma. But the fact that a newer treatment -- and one of the oldest around -- may keep people seeing clearly has doctors looking hard for an answer.

CBS 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS airs Saturday 8-9:30AM and Sunday 8-9AM on UPN Bay Area/44-Cable 12.

©MMIV, CBS Broadcasting Inc.

End of article.

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