Eye On the Cure Research News

Apr 15, 2020

Eye Disease Studies Suggest Mediterranean Diet is Good for the Brain

A healthy diet is also important for people with retinal conditions

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Eye doctors often prescribe supplements containing the AREDS2 formula for people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) to reduce their risk of disease progression and vision loss. The recommendation of the AREDS2 formula resulted from two studies conducted by the National Eye Institute: the Age-Related Eye Disease Study and a follow-up study aptly called the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2. Both studies enrolled approximately 4,000 participants and evaluated the effect of certain combinations of vitamins and nutrients on eye diseases related to aging.

A recent analysis of data from these studies also showed that the Mediterranean diet — which includes vegetables, whole grains, fish, and olive oil —  correlates with better cognitive function. Dietary factors also correlate with slowing of cognitive decline. Researchers published their study results in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

The retina, which is the light sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye, is an extension of the brain, and the new study on the Mediterranean diet provides further evidence that a healthy diet is good for brain function.

Brian Mansfield, PhD, executive vice president of research and interim chief scientific officer, Foundation Fighting Blindness

Researchers assessed study participants’ diets with a questionnaire. Cognitive function was tested at intervals up to 10 years from the baseline evaluation.

“Clinical researchers and physicians have for many years told patients that eating a healthy diet is good for all people, including those with retinal diseases,” says Brian Mansfield, PhD, executive vice president of research and interim chief scientific officer at the Foundation Fighting Blindness. “The retina, which is the light sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye, is an extension of the brain, and the new study on the Mediterranean diet provides further evidence that a healthy diet is good for brain function.”

Patients with AMD should only take the AREDS2 formula if prescribed by their eye doctor.

Diet is not a substitute for the AREDS2 formula.