Saturday, August 23, 2014

Healthy diet and visual impairment

A new study published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology looked they way that healthy diet impacted the risk of developing visual impairments over 10 years.  Many studies have looked at the link between specific nutrients and eye diseases.  For example, click here for a summary of some widely studied nutrients.

What is new about this study is that it look at overall deit rather than focusing on isolated nutrients. The purpose of the study was to assess whether adherence to dietary guidelines at baseline is associated with the incidence of visual impairment among older persons after 10 years. 

The study took 3654 people in Australia and examined them to establish a baseline regarding their diet and eye health.  The researchers then examined this group again after 5 years and 10 years.

The researchers found that compliance to dietary guidelines was associated with a decreased long-term risk of visual impairment in this sample of Australians aged 65+ years. Overall quality of diet was correlated to a 40% reduction in the long-term risk of visual impairment among people 65 years of age or older.

The components of a healthy diet that the authors looked at are well known and are a matter of common sense for most people:  lots of vegetables, legumes, and fruit, healthy choices such as whole grains, lean meat, reduced fat milk; lower intakes of saturated fats, sodium, sugar, alcohol and lower intakes of junk food that is high in calories but very low in nutritional content.


American Journal of Ophthalmology
Adherence to Dietary Guidelines and the 10-Year Cumulative Incidence of Visual Impairment: The Blue Mountains Eye Study Am J Ophthalmol 2014 Aug 01;158(2)302-308, T Hong, V Flood, E Rochtchina, P Mitchell, J Russell, JJ Wang