The role of omega6 to omega3 ratio in development and progression of age-related macular degeneration

Coll Antropol. 2011 Sep:35 Suppl 2:307-10.


The aim of this study is to investigate possible connection between omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratio and development and progression of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD). We examined 125 patients diagnosed with ARMD and divided into 5 groups of 25 patients according to CARMS (Clinical Age-Related Maculopathy Staging System). Control group consists of 51 patients with similar ages, without ARMD. All of them underwent stereobiomicroscopy, fundus photography and fluorescein angiography. Dietary fatty acids intake was measured using food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). The FFQ was based on previously validated questionnaire (DIETQ, Tinuviel Software, Warington, Ches, UK) and FFQ2 from Blue MountainEye Study. The data were analysed using food nutritient dana from McCance and Widdowson's Food Composition Tables, supplemented with a food fatty acid content database (Foodbase, London, UK). We noticed statistically significant difference between omega-6/omega-3 ratio in neovascular ARMD (stage 5) and all other groups including control group (p = 0.000020). The ratio in Stage 5 was about 11:1 like in Western diet. Stage 4-geographic atrophy (GA) has statistically significant difference in o-mega-6/omega-3 ratio compared with stage 1 (p = 0.000571), stage 2 (p = 0.000112) and stage3 (p = 0.000430). The ratio in first three groups is about 7-7.5:1 (greater then Mediteran-4-5:1, but lower then Western Diet-10-20:1). There is no statistically significant difference between first three stages (p > 0.05) and stage 4 and control group (p = 0.172388). Omega-6/omega-3 ratio is connected with development of neovascular ARMD. Decreased ratio protects against neovascular ARMD. On the contrary, GA seems to be connected with prolonged sunlight exposure (the ratio is about 6:1). It is good to know that changing nutrition habits someone can prevent development of severe neovascular form of ARMD because intravitreal anti-VEGF therapy limitations.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Diet, Mediterranean / statistics & numerical data*
  • Disease Progression
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6 / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration* / diet therapy
  • Macular Degeneration* / epidemiology
  • Macular Degeneration* / prevention & control
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6