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Omega-3 fatty acids may improve vision in patients with AMD

November 9, 2013

According to a new study from Cyprus, treating patients with dry age-related macular degeneration with high-dose omega-3 fatty acids seems to significantly improve their vision acuity.

In the clinical trial, vision acuity was measured in 25 patients (with a mean age of 67 years) with dry age- related macular degeneration (AMD) who received daily supplements with 3.4 grams of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 1.6 grams of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for six months (1). The study results showed that all patients significantly improved vision acuity within four and a half months after starting omega-3 fatty acid supplementation.

The researchers commented that since there is no existing treatment for dry AMD, the improvements in vision obtained in this pilot study should be considered striking. The scientists hypothesized that the reason for the positive effects in the current trial is a consequence of the increased dosage and, particularly, the higher concentrations of EPA which the patients received with the supplement. The doses of omega-3 fatty acids used were four to five times greater than those used in earlier studies, which showed no effects.

AMD is the most common cause of severe and irreversible loss of central vision in people over the age of 50. More than 7 million people in the US have early to moderate AMD. Severe AMD affects 1.8 million people in the US and the number suffering from AMD is expected to increase by 50% in 2020. Although the cause of AMD is unknown, inflammation and oxidative stress appear to play fundamental roles in the development of the eye disease.

References

  1. Georgiou T. et al. Pilot study for treating dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) with high-dose omega-3 fatty acids. PharmaNutrition. Published online October 2013.