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HomeminewsGood Fats Prevent Blindness in Old Age

Good Fats Prevent Blindness in Old Age

There’s good news for people who love the Mediterranean style diet – olive oil can significantly reduce the risk of blindness in old age.

The study by the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) which is affiliated with the University of Melbourne and the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, discovered that people who eat at least 100 millilitres (about seven tablespoons) of olive oil per week are almost 50 per cent less likely to develop late age-related macular degeneration (AMD) than those who eat less than one millilitre per week.

The study also found that people who eat other foods rich in omega-3 fatty-acids, such as fish and nuts, are 15 per cent less likely to develop early AMD which affects half a million Australians.

Report author Dr. Elaine Chong said olive oil contains a number of protective elements that contribute to eye health.

“Olive oil is rich in powerful antioxidants like vitamin E. It also contains an anti-inflammatory component, similar to ibuprofen, which helps protect the blood vessels in the eye,” said Dr. Chong.

“A diet rich in olive oil and other foods containing omega-3 fatty acids such as oily fish varieties like salmon and tuna and nuts may help protect your eyes against diseases such as AMD.”

With limited treatment options for AMD, researchers say a better understanding of the modifiable risk factors associated with AMD could significantly reduce vision loss from the disease.

“Established risk factors for AMD include age, genetics and smoking, with smoking being the only consistently reported modifiable risk factor,” Dr Chong said.

“This study establishes a link between the intake of both good and bad fats, and the implications for AMD development.”

To conduct the study, researchers analysed the diet of more than 6,700 people aged 58 to 69 years old in the early 1990s.

Participants were then tracked for the development of AMD between 2003 and 2006. During this period, 2,872 cases of early AMD and 88 cases of late AMD developed.