Tag Archives: AMD

Fish Oils Might Prevent Age-Related Blindness

A typical fish oil softgel
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Superfoods containing omega 3 and fish oils may help prevent the most common cause of blindness in old age, say scientists.

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The benefits of eating oily fish like mackerel and nuts are already recognised in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and heart attacks.

But new US research suggests omega 3 fatty acids can also protect against the .loss of vision that develops with age,known as AMD (age-related macular degeneration).
Around 200,000 Britons each year suffer AMD and there is no preventative treatment, although laser surgery and drugs can limit damage caused by the disease.
It is the most common cause of sight loss in people over 50 and robs people of the central vision necessary for reading, driving or simply recognising people’s faces.
A team at the National Eye Institute in Maryland, US, who fed mice with high levels of Omega 3 found those eating more fish oils had lower levels of AMD.
The condition improved in 57 per cent of mice fed the highest levels for at least 12 weeks, compared with just four per cent on lower levels of omega 3.
It is unclear how omega 3 works but the mechanism may be anti-inflammatory.
The mice that responded best had lower levels of inflammation – thought to be linked with the development of AMD – and higher rates of anti-inflammatory molecules.
In a report that will appear in the American Journal of Pathology next month, the scientists said ‘The results provide the scientific basis for omega 3 fatty acids in the prevention and treatment of AMD.
Dr Chi-Chao Chan, who led the research team, said the results should apply in humans although the exact amount and duration of omega 3 needed to confer long-term benefits had to be determined.
She said: ‘The results in these mice are in line with epidemiological studies of AMD risk reduction and we plan to use this model to evaluate other therapies that might delay the development of the disease.
‘We think the findings are applicable in humans and it probably means a daily intake of omega 3.’The findings suggest regular consumption of a diet high in omega 3 would cut the risk of the disease and might also improve sight if taken up after it had developed, she added.
Britons are currently advised to eat fish at least twice a week, including one portion of oily fish.
The best dietary source of omega 3 fatty acids is oily fish because the human body cannot produce omega-3 fatty acids.
There has been an explosion in the number of foods fortified with omega-3 oils, such as chickens, margarine, eggs, milk and bread, but they contain only small amounts.
Types of fish that contain high levels include tuna, salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, and anchovies.Fish oil supplements are recommended as protection against heart attacks and sudden death, with regular fish eaters a third more likely to survive a heart attack.

Omega 3 fats work in several ways to reduce heart attack risk by cutting blood fats, reducing the chances of a blood clot and blocking dangerous heart rhythms that might otherwise prove fatal.In addition, trials have shown fish oils can help prevent depression.Taking fish oils in pregnancy has been found to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, and improve birthweight.
Previous research also shows supplements of certain antioxidant vitamins and other nutrients may ward off AMD.

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Source:http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1201603/Fish-oils-help-prevent-age-related-blindness.html#ixzz0MKIHCxTX

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New Surgery For AMD Patients

An innovative form of eye surgery is offering hope to the estimated three million sufferers of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of blindness in people over 55 in the UK.
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The technique, known as IOL VIP – Intra-Ocular Lenses for Visually Impaired People, is similar to cataract surgery. Developed in Milan by low-vision specialists and ophthalmologists, it was first made available in the UK about 18 months ago and is now performed in private hospitals, although it isn’t currently available on the NHS.

AMD damages the macula – the central part of the light-sensitive retina at the back of the eye – causing scarring, and preventing images being sent to the brain. This damage causes the gradual deterioration, or even loss, of central vision used for activities such as reading, writing, driving and recognising faces.
Eye

Hope: Treatment is now available for ‘dry’ AMD

There are two types of AMD: ‘dry’, the most common form, in which the cells of the macula disintegrate gradually; and the more aggressive ‘wet’ form. The latter is caused by the growth of new blood vessels behind the retina, which can leak, causing scarring and leading to loss of sight.

About ten per cent of people with AMD develop the ‘wet’ form, which can be treated with eye injections. But, until recently, there has been no effective treatment for the majority, who suffer from ‘dry’ AMD.

In the pioneering IOL VIP procedure, two artificial lenses are inserted into the eye. The natural lens behind the iris is removed and replaced with an artificial one, which diverts images from the scarred macula to healthy retinal tissue.

A second lens is then placed in front of the iris. Together, the two lenses act as a telescope, allowing the images to be focused and processed to the optic nerve and sent to the brain. The procedure can last as little as 30 minutes. It then takes approximately 12 weeks for sight to stabilise.

After the operation, computer vision training is vital to train the eye and get the best possible outcome.

Richard Newsom, a consultant ophthalmic surgeon, says: ‘The IOL VIP procedure is an exciting new innovation. It’s not appropriate for every patient with AMD and further studies are required but when it works, it works well and for some patients it can make a significant improvement to their vision.’

Brendan Moriarty, consultant eye surgeon at Leighton Hospital in Crewe, Cheshire, who was the first to perform the operation in the UK, says: ‘If you select patients correctly, the vast majority will at least double their near and distance vision.’

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists agrees further studies are required, stating that it is difficult to determine who will benefit and by how much.

The Macular Disease Society says it is not ‘a miracle cure’ and ‘has worked successfully for some but can’t be regarded as a regular new treatment for widespread use in MD patients’.

One patient who has benefited from the pioneering procedure, however, is 68-year-old Evelyn Dean.

Having suffered from ‘dry’ AMD for two-and-a-half years, Evelyn’s sight had deteriorated so much that she couldn’t read a book or newspaper-without a strong magnifying glass. To her dismay, it also got so bad she was told that she could no longer drive.

But, following an IOL VIP operation in November 2008 at Spire Hull and East Riding Hospital, Evelyn has been given the all-clear to get back behind the wheel.

She says: ‘ I can even read the labels on supermarket shelves properly, which I couldn’t before. I still wear glasses for long distances and reading but the best thing is being able to drive again after almost 15 months.

‘I feel like I have my freedom back.’

Sources: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1200549/New-surgery-save-thousands-blindness.html#ixzz0LiXZkEUz

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Oily Fish ‘Cuts Eye Disease Risk’

Eating food rich in omega-3, such as oily fish, could help some people avoid one of the most common causes of vision loss, a research review suggests.

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AMD causes a progressive loss of sight

The Annals of Ophthalmology review suggests omega-3 may cut the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by a third.

However, the Australian researchers stop short of encouraging everyone to eat more omega-3 for this reason alone.

An estimated 500,000 people in the UK suffer from AMD in some form.

“Prevention of this condition remains a major public health concern”….Spokesman, RNIB

it is a progressive and irreversible condition caused by thinning and bleeding around the macula – the central portion of the retina.

People with AMD, mostly over the age of 60, lose the ability to see fine detail, and, in severe cases, can choose to become registered blind, even though they still have some peripheral vision left.

Studies have already linked omega-3 fatty acids with a variety of health benefits, the most significant being suggestions that it can help people with heart disease.

The University of Melbourne study added up the results of nine previous studies on omega-3 and AMD, a total of 88,974 participants, including more than 3,000 with AMD.

 

Doing this gives the results more statistical strength – making it less likely than in the original nine studies that the findings are simply due to chance or some other confounding factor.

Eating fish twice a week was linked to a reduced risk of AMD, and a 38% reduction in risk was found when those eating the most omega-3 were compared with those eating the least.

‘Raise awareness’

Dr Elaine Chong, who led the research, said that omega-3 fatty acids were a vital component of the retina, and it was possible that a shortage of the chemical could “initiate” the disease as retinal cells were constantly shed and renewed.

However, she was cautious about recommending a change in diet, as little of the research analysed was set up to provide solid evidence.

“Although this meta-analysis suggests that consumption of fish and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids may be associated with a lower risk of AMD, there is insufficient evidence from the current literature, with few prospective studies and no randomised clinical trials, to support their routine consumption for AMD prevention.”

A spokesman for the vision charity RNIB said that, given the high cost of treatment for one type of AMD, and the lack of treatment for the other, prevention was a “major public health concern”.

“The analysis of the existing evidence confirms that smoking is the only proven avoidable risk factor for AMD.

“We would welcome randomised controlled trials on the role that omega-3 fatty acids and fish consumption may be able to play in preventing AMD.

“In the interim we would encourage the government to do more to raise awareness of the link between smoking and blindness.”

Sources: BBC NEWS: 10Th. June, ’08