Dr. Ben's Blog

Omega 3’s Don’t Help Your Eyes? Not So Fast…

Last week, the much anticipated first round of results from AREDS 2 were published.   AREDS stands for "Age-Related Eye Disease Study", a cross-sectional, multicenter, years-long set of studies set out to determine whether the progression of age-related eye diseases, such as macular degeneration could be curbed by the intake of certain nutraceuticals.   The original AREDS results taught us that a cocktail of vitamins C and E, Zinc, and beta-carotine could slow the progression of macular degeneration.   AREDS 2 looked at a similar combination with the addition of lutein and zeaxanthin (carotinoids similar to beta-carotine and found in green leafy vegetables and orange and yellow fruits and vegetables respectively) and omega 3 fatty acids.   Interestingly, the addition of omega 3 fatty acids (those commonly found in cold water oily fish, flaxseed, and the like) did not slow the progression of macular degeneration.   This finding came as somewhat of a surprise, partially due to the fact that several manufacturers of nutraceuticals began marketing the "AREDS 2" formula to the public over a year ago.

However, omega 3 fatty acids continue to have a definitive place in eye care and systemic care.   They have been shown to have positive effects for the treatment of dry eye disease, high cholesterol, and several other conditions that plague an aging America on a large scale.   So, do not read the preliminary results of the AREDS 2 study and quit your omega 3 intake.  It is helping your eyes and the rest of you.   Still, though, you have to be your own advocate and know that there will never be a magical pill that will keep your eyes young.  You (and your kids) need to use sunglasses when outside, never start smoking, eat your veggies, stay away from a high fat diet, control any blood pressure or blood sugar issues, and choose your parents wisely.



Posted in Dr. Ben's Blog, Eye Health

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