If you’re already taking DHA as a nutritional supplement, or eating plenty of fish, you might be well on your way to improve your eyesight naturally as you age. A recent study* at the University of Alberta, Canada whose results were published in the Journal of Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science found that DHA—a fatty acid found in fish—prevented age-related vision loss in laboratory models.
Yves Sauve and his team at University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry discovered laboratory models (mice) fed DHA did not accumulate a toxic molecule, A2E, at the back of the eyes. According to Sauve, the toxin normally builds up in the retina with age and causes vision loss.
According to Sauve, this toxin typically multiplies two-fold as we age, but that in the lab tests with mice receiving DHA, there was no increase in the A2E toxin whatsoever. The researchers conclude “These findings imply that dietary DHA could have broad preventative therapeutic applications (acting on pathologic and normal age-related ocular processes).”
This particular activity of DHA has never been demonstrated before, and the future therapeutic implications are quite promising. Supplementing with DHA could one day prove to be the “missing link” in mitigating this particular aspect of the aging process.
Sauve's team recently started another study, focusing on people who have age-related macular degeneration, a condition that results in the loss of central vision and is the main cause of blindness in people age 50 and older. The team said it wanted to determine whether participants with certain genetic markers will respond better to increasing amounts of DHA in their diet.