Can Omega 3 fats help Retinitis Pigmentosa, as it can help other eye conditions?
It is now well-known that the Omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are reasonably prevalent in your eye. And it has been shown, and we have discussed before in our article about baby vision, that an adequate supply of Omega 3 fats in the diet of infants and children can help with the development of visual accuity, amongst other things.
And at the other end of life it is also now understood that an adequate supply of the Omega 3 fats can also help older people who are or may be suffering from macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is the gradual degeneration of the macular in the eye with age. Those with extreme macular degeneration will, or may, eventually go blind, and this is the leading cause of blindness in the elderly.
Today we wanted to discuss another way in which increasing your intake of Omega 3 may help with a specific eye condition. It’s called Retinitis Pigmentosa.
Retinitis Pigmentosa is a disease of the retina of the eye, affecting, it is estimated, around one in 4000 people.
Where Retinitis Pigmentosa occurs the result is damage to the retina, which can lead to night blindness amongst other things, including tunnel vision and even blindness.
Retinitis Pigmentosa is considered to be a genetic condition, and symptoms often start to develop at an early age. It is not considered to be one amendable to cure.
However there are encouraging studies suggesting that a diet high in Omega 3 fatty acids can help retain sensitivity in the central field of vision, and that an Omega 3 rich diet can help slow the rate of decline in this sensitivity.
Specifically, 3 studies were examined by an M.D. From the Massachusetts eye and ear infirmary, and it was concluded that the average rate of decline in distance visual acuity was around 40 percent reduced for people who had a diet high in the Omega 3 fats and Vitamin A, when compared to those who have a diet low in Omega 3 fats.
A specific, and fascinating conclusion was that “the treatment regimen of vitamin A combined with an ω-3-rich diet (≥0.20 g/d) should make it possible for many patients with typical retinitis pigmentosa to retain both visual acuity and central visual field for most of their lives.”
For those with Retinitis Pigmentosa this is an exciting conclusion, as the implications of the disease can be serious.
This result is less surprising considering that there is other evidence that diseases of the eye, and in particular macular degeneration, will, or may, respond positively to an increase in the intake of Omega 3 fats in the diet.
It would seem that the health of our eyes generally, from infancy or before right through into older age, can be positively impacted by making sure that the Omega 3 essential fatty acids DHA and EPA are common in our diet, either through a diet rich in Omega 3 foods, or by Omega 3 supplementation, or a combination of both.
Whilst it is becoming more problematical in today’s society to get your Omega 3 essential fatty acids from food, for reasons we have indicated our article about Omega 3 eggs, there are certainly excellent Omega 3 supplements available on the market, though not all are excellent.
So for the health of your eyes, as well as your heart and many other parts of your body, make sure you’re getting enough Omega 3 in your diet.
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