Study Suggests Mediterranean Diets Can Help Prevent AMD

Nov 21, 2018 @ 10:35 AM — by Retina Associates, P.A.
Tagged with: Macular Degeneration

A display of foods in a Mediterranean dietRetinal conditions can impact vision, and if left untreated, may lead to a loss of eyesight.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the most common retinal conditions and a leading cause of blindness in people over 60. Although treatment is available for AMD, studies suggests that a Mediterranean diet can help prevent AMD.

The physicians of Retina Associates, P.A. educate patients about Mediterranean diets and AMD at our Kansas City, MO practice. For more information, we invite you to schedule a consultation.

What Studies Were Reviewed?

As reported by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, researchers were recently able to review two long term studies regarding the impact of a Mediterranean diet on the likelihood of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration.

The studies reviewed, the Rotterdam Study I and the Alienor study from France, followed a population of 4,996 patients over the age of 55 over a period of 21 years.

In the Rotterdam study, patients were examined and required to answer food questionnaires every five years. Participants in the Alienor Study were examined every two years.

The daily intake of foods and a ratio of monounsaturated-to-saturated fatty acids were considered to find a correlation between a Mediterranean diet and the incidence of AMD. 

The Findings

After reviewing the data of these studies, researchers found that those who more closely followed a Mediterranean diet were 40 percent less likely to develop AMD than those who did not.

These findings suggest that eating a diet of whole foods, like fruits, vegetables, and legumes, while also limiting meat and dairy significantly reduced the likelihood of developing age-related macular degeneration.

It also should be noted that researchers did not see a correlation between any one type of food and the lowered incidence of AMD, rather it's following a Mediterranean diet as a whole that had the greatest benefit.

How to Follow a Mediterranean Diet

Following a Mediterranean diet is simple once you understand what it entails. These tips can help get you started in switching your current eating habits to a Mediterranean style.

  • Make plant-based foods, including vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, and whole grains, your primary source of nourishment.
  • Flavor foods with herbs and spices instead of salt.
  • Swap dairy for healthier alternatives such as olive oil for butter and soy or almond milk for cow's milk.
  • Cut back on red meat to only a few times a month or eliminate red meat entirely.
  • Replace red meat with fish and poultry.
  • Limit alcohol consumption to red wine only and drink in moderation.

Preventing Age-related Macular Degeneration Is Essential to Protecting Vision

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the most common vision problems for people over the age of 60. AMD causes damage to a part of the retina called the macula.

The macula is responsible for central vision. As AMD progresses, central vision may become blurred. Some people will develop a blank spot within their central vision, making it difficult or impossible to complete simple activities, like reading, writing, or driving.

Although treatments can help slow the progression of this condition, it is not curable, which is why it is so important to take any steps possible to prevent AMD from developing. The findings reported by the American Academy of Ophthalmology offer a promising option for preventing AMD simply through diet modification.

Learn More about Your Treatment Options

If you have noticed vision problems, it's important to seek treatment as soon as possible. To learn more about which treatments may be right for you, please call (913) 831-7400 to schedule an appointment.

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