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MERLE and COLLEAGUES, INSERM U897, Bordeaux, France. study the association between long-chain omega-3 essential fatty acids and risk of age-related maculopathy (ARM) in French elderly people.


Previous studies have suggested a lower risk for age-related maculopathy (ARM) in subjects with high dietary intake of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). The authors report the associations of ARM with past dietary intakes in French elderly subjects.


The Alienor Study is a population-based epidemiologic study on nutrition and age-related eye diseases performed in residents of Bordeaux 73 years of age and older. Six hundred sixty-six subjects (1289 eyes) with complete data were included in the analyses. ARM was classified from retinal photographs taken in 2006 to 2008 in five exclusive stages: late neovascular ARM (n = 21 subjects, 29 eyes); late atrophic ARM (n = 19 subjects, 33 eyes); large soft indistinct drusen and/or reticular drusen and/or large distinct drusen with pigment abnormalities (early ARM2, n = 67 subjects, 100 eyes); large soft distinct drusen alone or pigment abnormalities alone (early ARM1, n = 119 subjects, 163 eyes); and no ARM (n = 440 subjects, 964 eyes). Dietary intakes were estimated from a 24-hour dietary recall performed by dieticians (2001-2002). Associations were estimated using logistic Generalized Estimating Equation.


After multivariate adjustment, subjects with high intake of long-chain omega-3 PUFA showed a decreased risk for early ARM1 (odds ratio [OR], 0.83; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.71-0.98; P = 0.03) and late neovascular ARM (OR, 0.26; 95% CI, 0.08-0.83; P = 0.02). Associations with late atrophic ARM were in the same direction but did not reach statistical significance (OR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.52-1.06; P = 0.10). Overall, high intakes of long-chain omega-3 PUFA were associated with reduced risk for late ARM (OR, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.39-0.88; P = 0.01).


These results confirm a decreased risk for ARM in subjects with high intake of long-chain omega-3 PUFA.


Merle B, Delyfer MN, Korobelnik JF, Rougier MB, Colin J, Malet F, Feart C, Le Goff M, Dartigues JF, Barberger-Gateau P and Delcourt C. Dietary omega-3 fatty acids and the risk for age-related maculopathy: the Alienor Study. Source Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. 52(8):6004-11. Jul 2011.

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