Prevent Macular Degeneration With Mediterranean Diet

Photo of the retina at the back of the eyeball

I thought we knew this already. Yet another reason to love the Mediterranean diet. Macular degeneration is a leading cause of blindness in the developed world. Prevention is much better than treatment.

High adherence to a Mediterranean diet and regular physical activity seem to be protective factors for AMD in a Portuguese population. The effect of the diet is likely driven by the increased consumption of vegetables, fruits, and nuts.

Source: Adherence to a Mediterranean diet and its association with age-related macular degeneration. The Coimbra Eye Study–Report 4 – Nutrition

Hmmm…No mention of heart-healthy whole grains.

Steve Parker, M.D.

low-carb mediterranean diet

Click the pic to purchase at


Filed under Health Benefits, Mediterranean Diet

3 responses to “Prevent Macular Degeneration With Mediterranean Diet

  1. Richard David Feinman

    If you divide an affected population in half, there is every chance that some collection of parameters that will make one half slightly better than the other half. The OR is 0.78 which is 56:44 odds. This is so close to 50:50 and there is no justification for the collection of parameters beyond the opinion of agencies with no evidence of being able to control anything. Do you really believe you are helping people with this. If one person starts downing more salad instead of going to the doctor, you will have done harm. Am I exaggerating?

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Richard.

      I’d prefer to have double-blind, randomized, controlled trials of diet for disease prevention, but those are uncommon if not rare. So I do lend some credence to the observational epidemiologic studies that we do have.

      Here’s another write-up of the issue at hand, for interested readers:

      “Healthy diets, particularly those high in carotenoids, lutein, zeaxanthin, and zinc, have been associated with decreased risk of AMD [age-related macular degeneration], although results are not consistent in all studies.” [My recollection is that plants are the richest sources of carotenoids, lutein, and zeaxanthine.]
      “Adherence to a Mediterranean diet in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) study, which included 2525 participants, was associated with a reduction in the risk of progression to advanced AMD over a 13-year follow-up, although this effect may have been modified by genetic susceptibility; dietary adherence did not impact progression in patients homozygous for the CFH Y402H allele.”
      “Greater fish intake as well as omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids are associated with a decreased risk of AMD.”
      “Physical activity appears to have a protective effect. In a meta-analysis of observational studies in white populations, higher levels of physical activity were associated with lower likelihood of developing early AMD (OR 0.92, 95% CI 0.86-0.98; eight studies, >38,000 patients) and late AMD (OR 0.59, 95% CI 0.49-0.72; seven studies, >28,000 patients).”

      For readers interested in preventing AMD, note that smoking is also linked to development of AMD. Admittedly, we have no proof that smoking causes some cases of AMD. We’ll not have proof in our lifetimes.

      Yes, I think I’m helping a few folks with this. I’ve never suggested diet alone instead of any and all medical care. I’m going to an optometrist soon myself.


  2. Pingback: Prevent Macular Degeneration With Mediterranean Diet - Lean.New.Me.