By V Selman,
World Fitness - Brantford,Ontario,Canada.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006.
This month the optometry world was set alight by new research that suggested that fish oil might help to 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 and retinitis pigmentosa. This is exciting news because macular degeneration is the main cause of blindness amongst the over 65s.
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. It also focuses the central vision required for driving, reading and recognising faces. With age-related macular degeneration the central part of the retina (which is called the macula) deteriorates and impairs vision. Omega-3 fatty acids are contained in RPE cells which are vitally important for the survival of photoreceptor cells. Eye diseases which can cause blindness lead the photoreceptor cells to degenerate and die.
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 macular degeneration by 30% by increasing the protection of the photoreceptor cells.
According to studies, people over the age of 65 are more scared about losing their vision than any other symptoms of old age. With the results of the optometry research clearly demonstrating that omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent eye loss, blindness could become much rarer amongst the elderly.
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