February is Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Awareness Month. AMD is the most common cause of irreversible blindness in the developed world. As a retinal specialist, I treat this disease every day.
The thought of going blind from AMD is frightening. What can people do to protect their eyes?
A recent study published in the journal Ophthalmology suggests that, for people with AMD, eating a Mediterranean diet is protective for the eyes. This was a study of over 13,000 eyes with 10 years of follow-up. The closer one followed a strict Mediterranean diet, the lower the risk of worsening. This was true of all stages of dry macular degeneration. Therefore, it’s never too late to start eating healthy!
What aspect of the Mediterranean diet is the most important? The study found that increased fish intake was the main protective factor. Emily Chew, the study's Principal Investigator, recommends eating fish twice a week.
To review how to follow a Mediterranean diet, here are some tips:
Decrease red meat and alcohol
Increase fish, vegetables, whole fruit, whole grains, nuts, legumes and “good” fats (e.g olive, walnut, and safflower oils)
This study is another win for healthy eating and preventive medicine!