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Arch Ophthalmol. 2008 Sep;126(9):1274-9. doi: 10.1001/archopht.126.9.1274.

The relationship of dietary omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid intake with incident age-related macular degeneration: AREDS report no. 23.

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  • 1National Eye Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.



To examine the association of dietary omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid and fish intake with incident neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and central geographic atrophy (CGA).


Multicenter clinic-based prospective cohort study from a clinical trial including Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) participants with bilateral drusen at enrollment. Main outcome measures were incident neovascular AMD and CGA, ascertained from annual stereoscopic color fundus photographs (median follow-up, 6.3 years). We estimated nutrient and food intake from a validated food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) at baseline, with intake of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), combined EPA and DHA, and fish as primary exposures.


After controlling for known covariates, we observed a reduced likelihood of progression from bilateral drusen to CGA among people who reported the highest levels of EPA (odds ratio [OR], 0.44; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.23-0.87) and EPA+DHA (OR, 0.45; 95% CI, 0.23-0.90) consumption. Levels of DHA were associated with CGA in age-, sex-, and calorie-adjusted models (OR, 0.51; 95% CI, 0.26-1.00); however, this statistical relationship did not persist in multivariable models.


Dietary lipid intake is a modifiable factor that may influence the likelihood of developing sight-threatening forms of AMD. Our findings suggest that dietary omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid intake is associated with a decreased risk of progression from bilateral drusen to CGA.

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