See It All with Fish Oil

Omega-3 fatty acids shown to prevent retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to prevent various forms of retinopathy (eye disease caused by the proliferation of leaking blood vessels in the retina).

Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston have revealed omega-3 fatty acids -- commonly found in fatty fish such as salmon -- may be able to prevent neovascular eye diseases, such as retinopathy and a form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) while providing a tremendous cost savings. (Omega-3 supplements cost about $10 a month compared to up to $4,000 a month for prescription AMD and retinopathy treatments.)

To combat these devastating outcomes, researchers have shown how mice fed diets high in omega-3 fatty acids had nearly 50 percent less pathologic retinal vessel growth compared to control mice. A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids was shown to decrease inflammatory messages in the eye.

Dr. Christopher Quinn, President of OMNI Eye Services, commented that neo-vascular eye diseases are treatable if you catch it early, or better yet, are pro-active about your eyesight. Dr. Quinn explained that if you are in an at-risk group you should have regular eye exams from your optometrist or ophthalmologist and take preventive measure like eating omega-3-rich fish twice a week or taking an omega-3 supplement regularly.

Furthermore researchers have shown the COX enzymes in aspirin, commonly taken by diabetics to ward off heart disease, do not interfere with omega-3 supplements.

Retinopathy commonly affects diabetics and some premature infants (about 4.1 million patients in the U.S. in all), while 7 million in the United States suffer with age-related macular degeneration, two leading causes of blindness.

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Review Date: 
February 11, 2011
Last Updated:
February 14, 2011