Higher Intakes of DHA/EPA Associated with Lowest Risk for Eye Diseases

January 7, 2010


Omega-3 Long-Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Intake and 12-year Incidence of Neovascular Age-related Macular Degeneration and Central Geographic Atrophy: AREDS Report 30, a Prospective Cohort Study
SanGiovanni, J. P. et al. , American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 90 : 1601-1607, 2009.
National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland , USA.


A total of 1837 participants (ages 60 – over 70 years), with near equal representation of both genders , who were at moderate- to high-risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) were followed for up to 12 years in relation to their DHA/EPA omega-3 intake and their progression to advanced AMD. AMD is an eye disease involving the retina which can significantly impair visual ability. During this period, 32 % of the subjects progressed to neovascular AMD. Interestingly, those with the highest average daily intakes of (DHA plus EPA) , amounting to 0.11 % of total daily energy (Calorie) intake had a 32 % lower risk of progressing to neovascular AMD when compared to those consuming only 0.013 energy %. Those with the higher intakes of DHA/EPA also exhibited a 35 % lower risk of developing ‘geographic atrophy’ which is another form of macular degeneration. The authors indicate that support for their findings from other studies could guide the development of low-cost preventive strategies including higher intakes of DHA/EPA to prevent progression to advanced AMD in the population.

Dr. Holub's Comments:

Assuming that a typical intake per day in adults was approximately 2250 Calories , the highest average intake of DHA/EPA (sum) in the present study (reported as 0.11 % of daily energy intake) is the equivalent of 275 mg /person/day. This intake is approximately double that for current average intakes in North America and eight times that for the sector with the lowest intake (0.013 % of energy) in the present study (the equivalent of approx. 32 mg /person/day).

Return to Eye & Visual Health Research