The elderly are often afflicted by partial blindness and other vision problems that are a direct result of their advanced age. However, taking fish oil supplements may prevent the vision loss associated with aging, says a new study published in the June 2012 issue of Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science.
The study, which was headed by researchers in the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, investigated the effects of dietary supplementation with fish oil supplements containing docosahexaenoic acid. Docosahexaenoic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid that is more commonly known as DHA. DHA is known to be important for the proper brain and eye development in babies.
For the study, the researchers manipulated the levels of dietary DHA that both transgenic (E4) and wildtype (WT) mice received. The mice in the transgenic mouse model used for the study displayed extensive age-related retina dysfunction and massive A2E accumulation parallel to the age-related eye changes in older adult humans.
The results of the study indicate that fish oil supplements containing DHA are associated with “preserved retina function at mid-degenerative stages in E4 mice; prevention of age-related functional losses in WT mice; and reduced A2E levels in E4 and WT mice at the oldest age examined.” In other words, supplementation with fish oil supplements containing DHA is associated with the prevention of age-related vision loss.
As Yves Sauve, one of the researchers on the study from the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Alberta, declared on Medical News Today:
“This discovery could result in a very broad therapeutic use. In normal aging, this toxin increases two-fold as we age. But in lab tests, there was no increase in this toxin whatsoever. This has never been demonstrated before – that supplementing the diet with DHA could make this kind of difference.”
The researchers in this study are now conducting another study investigating individuals with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is the main cause of blindness in individuals over the age of 50.
Will the results of this study influence your decision to take fish oil supplements with DHA as a way to prevent age-related vision loss?