Less fish may lead to poor vision

UNIVERSITY researchers have found that Hongkongers face increasing risks of vision impairment in later life due to eating too little fatty fish or dark green vegetables and too much red meat.

In a first for Asia, a University of Hong Kong (香港大學) team found that local dietary patterns increased the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration,that is, a gradual blurring of central vision.

The university said that it was the first study to show that by choosing the correct omega-fatty acids in one’s diet, the risk and progression of the elderly developing the disease can be substantially reduced.

“Regular intake of high omega-3 fatty acid food,such as salmon and flaxseed, with rich carotenoid foods like spinach, kale and tomatoes is recommended for the prevention of age-related macular degeneration,”the findings reported.

The ‘wet’ form of the eye disease is more common in Hong Kong due to gene inheritance, which involves abnormal blood vessels growing under the retina and macula, which may bleed and leak fluid, causing the macula to bulge and thus distorting central vision. The ‘dry form’ does not involve leakage of blood or serum.

The study covered 99 patients with the wet form of the disease. A food frequency questionnaire collected dietary data for comparison with plasma analysis.

“The group found the average consumption rate of deep-sea fish was less than twice per week, which is inadequate to obtain the multiple health effects of omega-3 fatty acids,” the HKU team announced.

(This article is published on Junior Standard on 6 January 2020)

Hong Kong University press release

Diet and nutrition – Centre for Health Protection