Research from Harvard has indicated that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the most complex form of omega-3 from fish oil, may protect people from loss of eyesight. DHA is mostly found in cold-water oceanic fish such as salmon, tuna, herring and sardines, but also in walnuts and flax seeds.
Fish oil balances all three vital omega-3 fatty acids, which means DHA is present in predictable amounts. Recently, a team of LSU scientists discovered that DHA preconditions photoreceptors and retinal pigment epithelial cells to survive trauma. The team has found that a component of fish oil prevents retinal cells from dying. DHA and its derivatives are responsible for activating long-term preconditioning protection.
That means that in addition to protecting cells from damage and injury, it also works to prevent injury in the future. By consuming fish oil, you’re enhancing the synthesis of docosanoids (molecules made in the brain when you are injured or become diseased). The discovery could lead to new treatments for many degenerative diseases affecting the retina, including sight loss due to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is the deterioration or breakdown of the macula. It is one of the most common causes of poor vision after age 60.
In addition, omega-3 fatty acids were tested in trials to determine how they can be utilized for treating dry-eye syndrome with great success.
A study published in Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology describes that among other nutrients, fish oil contains two types of polyunsaturated fatty acids: omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and omega-6 arachidonic acid (AA).
When these two types of fatty acids are released together, the body is encouraged to protect photoreceptors and cells found in the retina. This helps strengthen the retina, making it less susceptible to disease. Additionally, DHA has been found to be naturally present in the retina itself, making consumption of omega-3 fatty acids an important nutritional choice for eye health.
Whether you choose to enhance your eye health with shifts in diet that include coldwater fish, or opt for fish oil supplements, research shows that any form is beneficial.
To learn more about how you can improve your eye health, visit one your local FYidoctors clinics to book a comprehensive eye exam and speak to a specialist about your eyecare needs.