Superfoods containing omega 3 and fish oils may help prevent the most common cause of blindness in old age, say scientists.
The benefits of eating oily fish like mackerel and nuts are already recognised in reducing the risk of Alzheimer's disease and heart attacks. But new US research suggests omega 3 fatty acids can also protect against the loss of vision that develops with age, known as AMD (age-related macular degeneration).
Around 200,000 Britons each year suffer AMD and there is no preventative treatment, although laser surgery and drugs can limit damage caused by the disease. It is the most common cause of sight loss in people over 50 and robs people of the central vision necessary for reading, driving or simply recognising people's faces.
A team at the National Eye Institute in Maryland, US, who fed mice with high levels of Omega 3 found those eating more fish oils had lower levels of AMD.
The condition improved in 57 per cent of mice fed the highest levels for at least 12 weeks, compared with just four per cent on lower levels of omega 3. It is unclear how omega 3 works but the mechanism may be anti-inflammatory.