If You Have Diabetes, Can Omega-3s Protect Your Eyes?
If you have diabetes, you may know that it increases your risk of diabetic retinopathy, one of the leading causes of blindness in American adults. It affects more than 5 percent of the U.S. population, but research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids in your diet could help protect your eyes.
More common among Hispanics and those over age 65, diabetic retinopathy occurs when blood vessels in the eyes swell and leak, or when abnormal cells grow on the retina and eventually block your vision.
As more people develop type 2 diabetes — and generally live longer — researchers are looking for a way to stave off retinopathy.
One good way is to keep blood sugar levels under control. And research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids, from food sources like fish and nuts and from supplements, are a powerful protector against this eye condition.
What research tells us about omega-3s
Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and slow hardening of the arteries. In higher-risk populations, such as individuals with type 2 diabetes, the data is less conclusive.
But some research shows that the nutrient may work to decrease the chances that you will get diabetic retinopathy. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association examined more than 2,500 middle-aged and elderly people with type 2 diabetes. It found that those who consumed omega-3s regularly had a 48 percent lower risk of diabetic retinopathy than those who didn’t (after a six-year follow-up).
Scientists believe that omega-3s may help stave off retinopathy because the Continue reading