Mediterranean diet could prevent blindness


A study presented to the Academy of Ophthalmology in Chicago has suggested that following the Mediterranean diet and drinking coffee could lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration.

The Mediterranean diet, which is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fats and fish, has been getting a fair amount of attention in recent months after it was shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.

AMD is known to be one of the leading causes of blindness world wide and, while not specifically proving it to be the case, the study did present evidence to suggest a fruit, vegetable and caffeine-rich diet could reduce risk of eye diseases, such as AMD, by as much as 35 percent.

According to the South African Council for the blind website: “Age-related macular degeneration is a degenerative retinal disease that affects the macula of the eye resulting in a progressive loss of central vision.”

Statistics from the World Health organisation show AMD is responsible for 7.1% of blindness worldwide, making it the fourth biggest cause of blindness in the world.

“This research adds to the evidence that a healthy, fruit-rich diet is important to health, including helping to protect against macular degeneration,” lead author of the study Dr Rufino Silva said.

“We also think this work is a stepping stone towards effective preventive medicine in AMD,” he concluded.