Your diet may affect your risk of late-stage age-related macular degeneration

Created date

January 24th, 2020
Researchers at the University of Buffalo have found that people who have what’s called a Western dietary pattern seem to be at an increased risk of late-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Researchers at the University of Buffalo have found that people who have what’s called a Western dietary pattern seem to be at an increased risk of late-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD). 

Researchers at the University of Buffalo have found that people who have what’s called a Western dietary pattern seem to be at an increased risk of late-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD). 

AMD is a progressive condition that causes a loss of central vision. There is no cure, and treatment is only available for one type of the disease (called wet AMD). There is no treatment for the other type, called dry AMD.  Not everyone with early-stage AMD will progress to late-stage AMD.

Two dietary patterns

In this study, the scientists investigated the onset of early- and late-stage AMD over approximately an 18-year period in subjects enrolled in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. They collected information on 66 foods that subjects reported consuming over the 18-year time period. From that, they were able to distinguish that there were basically two dietary patterns among subjects. One was identified as prudent or healthy, and the other was the Western dietary pattern, which consisted of red and processed meat, fried food, refined grains, and high-fat dairy.

They found that subjects who had no AMD or early AMD at the start of the study and reported a largely Western dietary pattern were three times more likely to develop vison-threatening, late-stage disease approximately 18 years later. 

This study is important because it highlights the fact that people at risk for or who have early-stage AMD should adhere to a healthy diet to reduce the risk of developing late-stage disease and losing their vision. 

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