Senior vision care

People who follow a Western-style diet are three times more likely to develop late-stage macular degeneration, say researchers from the University at Buffalo, New York.

Adults who had no or early forms of the vision-threatening disease were more likely to develop its late-stage form 18 years later if they frequently consumed red and processed meat, fried food, refined grains and high-fat dairy, reported Shruti Dighe and colleagues. The diet, common in Western nations, was not associated with an early stage of the disease.

Late-stage macular degeneration may irreversibly damage the retina and can interfere with daily activities such as driving. But not all adults who have the early-stage form progress to the next stage. That’s why the possibility of prevention is intriguing, the authors noted.

“Our work provides additional evidence that diet matters,” added Amy Millen, Ph.D., the study’s senior author. “[W]e can tell people that if you have early AMD, it is likely in your best interest to limit your intake of [these foods] to preserve your vision over time,” she concluded.

An article was published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.