Researchers from Children’s Hospital Boston have found how Omega-3 fatty acids may prevent retinopathy, a major form of blindness, and may help with diabetes. The study is published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
The ability to prevent these “neovascular” eye diseases with omega-3 fatty acids could provide tremendous cost savings, said Lois Smith, MD, PhD, senior investigator on the study. “The cost of omega-3 supplementation is about $10 a month, versus up to $4,000 a month for anti-VEGF therapy. Our new findings give us new information on how omega-3s work that makes them an even more promising option.”
Retinopathy, caused by the proliferation leaky blood vessels in the retina, affects 4.1 million Americans with diabetes and many premature infants. Another 7 million-plus Americans have age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The most common “wet” form of AMD is also caused by abnormal blood vessel growth.
In the study, researchers document a direct effect on blood vessel growth (angiogenesis) from omega-3 fatty acids that selectively promotes the growth of healthy blood vessels and inhibits the growth of abnormal vessels.
Children’s Hospital Boston