This common diet linked to higher vision loss risk in older people

Credit: Lucas Andrade / Unsplash

In a study from the University at Buffalo, scientists found that people who ate a diet high in red and processed meat, fried food, refined grains, and high-fat dairy were three times more likely to develop an eye condition that damages the retina and affects central vision.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease that can blur your central vision. It is the leading cause of vision loss among older people.

AMD doesn’t cause complete blindness, but losing your central vision can make it harder to see faces, read, drive, or do close-up work like cooking or fixing things around the house.

In the current study, the researchers examined the association between dietary patterns and the risk of AMD in older people.

People who showed the change in AMD lesions between retinal photographs taken at visit 3 and visit 5 were graded side by side to determine AMD.

In addition, the team used a food frequency questionnaire to examine 29 food groups in these people’s diets.

They found western (unhealthy) and prudent (healthy) dietary patterns in the participants.

The Western Pattern Diet (WPD) or also known as the Standard American Diet (SAD) is a modern-day style diet that mostly contains high amounts of processed foods, red meat, high-fat dairy products, high-sugar foods, and pre-packaged foods, that increase the risk of chronic illness.

The prudent diet is characterized by a high intake of vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole grains, fish and other seafood. A high-quality diet provides more nutrient density.

Peanuts, known to the culinary world as a nut but classified as a legume because of the way they grow, fit in all of these diets.

The team found there was no strong link between either dietary pattern and the risk of early AMD.

However, they found a higher risk of late AMD in participants who ate a Western diet.

The risk of developing late AMD was decreased, but not strong enough in people with a Prudent diet pattern.

Based on these findings, the team concludes that diet patterns were not strongly linked to the risk of early AMD. However, eating a Western pattern diet may be a risk factor for the development of late AMD.

If you care about eye health, please read studies about how to protect your eyes from glaucoma, and 7 habits that help prevent vision loss in older people.

For more information about eye health, please see recent studies about how to protect your eyes from diabetes, and results showing that vitamin B3 may help treat common blinding eye disease.

The research was published in British Journal of Ophthalmology and conducted by Shruti Dighe et al.

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