Presse Santé

AMD: The Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of losing sight by 41%

There is growing evidence that poor diet plays an important role in the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness in France. A major collaboration of European Union researchers examining the link between genes and lifestyle in the development of AMD found that people who adhered to a Mediterranean diet reduced their risk of late-stage AMD by 41%. This research expands on previous studies and suggests that such a diet is beneficial for everyone, whether you already have the disease or are at risk of developing it.

The Mediterranean diet emphasizes the consumption of fish, vegetables, fruits, legumes, unrefined grains, and olive oil. Previous research has linked their practice to longer lifespans and lower incidences of heart disease and cognitive decline. But recent work has just shown its positive impact on AMD.

The Mediterranean diet prevents blindness diseases

AMD is a degenerative eye disease. This leads to the loss of central vision, which is crucial for simple daily activities such as seeing faces, driving, reading and writing. It is a leading cause of vision loss in people aged 50 and over, affecting 1.5 million French people. By 2030, that number is expected to increase by 50% to 2.2 million. This disease is now the most common cause of visual impairment in people over 50 in developed countries. The risk of developing the disease increases with age to more than 25% of the population after the age of 75.

Reduce the appearance of AMD

For this latest study, researchers analyzed food frequency questionnaires from nearly 5,000 people who had participated in two previous studies: the Rotterdam Study, which assessed disease risk in people aged 55 and over, and the Alienor Study. Patients in the Rotterdam study were followed every five years for 21 years and completed dietary questionnaires, while patients in the Alienor study were followed every two years for four years. The researchers found that those who strictly followed the diet were 41% less likely to develop AMD than those who didn’t follow the diet.

Vision loss is a public health problem related to poor nutrition

They also found that none of the individual components of a Mediterranean diet per se — fish, fruits, vegetables, etc. — reduced AMD risk. Rather, it was the whole trend toward a nutrient-dense diet that significantly reduced the risk of late-stage AMD.

For Emily Chew, clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, who serves on the advisory board of the research group responsible for the study: “Blind diseases such as AMD are a public health problem, as is smoking. . Chronic diseases like AMD, dementia, obesity and diabetes all have their roots in bad eating habits. »

There are two types of AMD: dry and wet. The dry type affects about 80-90% of people with AMD. In dry AMD, small white or yellowish deposits called drusen form on the retina, causing it to deteriorate over time. In the wet form, blood vessels grow under the retina and leak. Although there is an effective treatment for wet AMD, no treatment is currently available for dry AMD. The solution remains to change your diet and adopt the Mediterranean diet.


Benedict MJ Merle et al. Mediterranean Diet and Incidence of Advanced Age-Related Macular Degeneration, Ophthalmology (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2018.08.006

* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace the advice of a doctor.

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