An eye on diet

Mediterranean and Oriental diet patterns may help to ward off the development of age-related macular degeneration


A review of research suggests that the food someone eats is associated with their risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The analysis of 18 studies, which was published in Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology, found that a Mediterranean diet was linked with a decreased risk of AMD progression, while Oriental eating habits were connected with lower AMD prevalence.

In contrast, a Western diet was associated with higher AMD prevalence.

A conventional Western diet has a higher intake of red and processed meat, high-fat dairy products, fried potatoes, refined grains and eggs, while an Oriental and Mediterranean diet is rich in vegetables, legumes, whole grains and seafood.

Scientists found that high consumption of vegetables rich in carotenoids and fatty fish containing omega-3 fatty acids was beneficial for those at risk of AMD.

High glycaemic index diets and alcohol consumption of more than two units per day had an increased association with the condition.

Lead author, Naoko Chapman, of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, emphasised: “Improving the quality of the diet, increasing the intake of foods that contain the nutrients required by the retina and avoiding foods that induce oxidative damage will play an important role in protecting against AMD.”