A new study analysing data from two large previous population-based studies shows older adults who stick to a Mediterranean diet (MeDi) may cut their risk of developing Age-related Macular Degeneration by over 40%.
Researchers, led by Dr Bénédicte Merle from the University of Bordeaux in France, analysed data from 4996 participants, comprising 4446 people 55 years or older from the Rotterdam Study 1 (RS-I) in The Netherlands and 550 people 73 years or older from the Alienor (antioxydants, lipides essentiels, nutrition et maladies oculaires) Study in France with complete ophthalmologic and dietary data included in the present study.
Examinations were performed approximately every five years over a 21-year period (1990–2011) in RS-I and every 2 years (2006–2012) in the Alienor Study. Adherence to the MeDi was evaluated using a 9-component score based on intake of vegetables, fruits, legumes, cereals, fish, meat, dairy products, alcohol, and the monounsaturated-to-saturated fatty acids ratio. Associations of incidence of AMD with MeDi were estimated using multivariate Cox proportional hazard models. The incidence of advanced AMD was calculated based on retinal fundus photographs.
Among the 4996 included participants, 155 demonstrated advanced incident AMD (117 from the RS-I and 38 from the Alienor Study). Pooling data for both the RS-I and Alienor Study, participants with a high (range, 6–9) MeDi score showed a significantly reduced risk for incident advanced AMD compared with participants with a low (range, 0–3) MeDi score in the fully adjusted Cox model (hazard ratio, 0.59; 95% confidence interval, 0.37–0.95; P = 0.04 for trend).
These findings support belief in the role of a diet rich in healthful nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and fish in the prevention of AMD.