Nutrition and age-related eye diseases: the Alienor (Antioxydants, Lipides Essentiels, Nutrition et maladies OculaiRes) Study

J Nutr Health Aging. 2010 Dec;14(10):854-61. doi: 10.1007/s12603-010-0131-9.


Background: Worldwide, degenerative eye diseases (age-related maculopathy (ARM), cataract, glaucoma) are the main causes of visual impairment and blindness, which contribute to disability in the elderly. Mainly three types of nutritional factors are investigated for their potential protection against eye ageing: antioxidants; lutein and zeaxanthin (carotenoids which accumulate specifically in the eye); omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Few epidemiological studies have been conducted in this field, particularly in Europe.

Objective: The Alienor (Antioxydants, Lipides Essentiels, Nutrition et maladies OculaiRes) Study aims at assessing the associations of eye diseases with nutritional factors, determined from plasma measurements and estimation of dietary intakes.

Design, setting and participants: Subjects were recruited in Bordeaux (France) from the ongoing population-based 3C study. In 2006-2008, 963 subjects from the 3C Study, aged 73 years or more, had an eye examination and will have follow-up eye examinations every 2 years.

Measurements: Vascular, genetic and nutritional factors were assessed at baseline (1999-2001) and follow-up examinations of the 3C Study. Eye diseases were classified according to international classifications.

Results: Nutritional status and vascular disease and risk factors were similar between participants and non participants, except for a slight difference in plasma triglycerides and HDL-cholesterol. As expected, the prevalence of eye diseases was high: early and late ARM (28.4 % and 5.6 %, respectively), open-angle glaucoma and treated ocular hypertension (4.8 % and 10.0 %, respectively), cataract extraction (45.2 %), retinopathy (8.4 %), retinal vein occlusion (1.1 %), epiretinal membrane (3.9 %), current use of artificial tears (17.3 %).

Conclusions: This study confirms the high prevalence of eye diseases in the elderly. Its main strength is the combination of nutritional, vascular and genetic information, collected over a 7 year period of time before the first eye examination. It may help design future interventional studies, which might be common with other age-related disorders, because of common nutritional factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging*
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Ophthalmological
  • Diet*
  • Eye Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Eye Diseases / metabolism
  • Eye Diseases / physiopathology
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Prevalence
  • Research Design*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors