Red Meat Eaters Likely to Lose Vision in Old Age

Mar 20, 2009
A new study found that people, who eat red meat regularly, face the increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, a main cause of vision loss in advanced age.

Dr Elaine Chong, an author of the research and her colleagues from the Centre for Eye Research at the University of Melbourne, Australia studied 6,734 people aged between 58 to 69 from 1990 to 2006 to find out the links between age-related macular degeneration(AMD) and meat consumption. At the beginning of the study the researchers asked the participants to answer the questionnaire about their food preferences, including the type of meat they preferred and the frequency of eating meat. The researchers also took digital pictures of the eyes retina of the participant to find the signs of macular degeneration.

The results showed that people who ate meat 10 times per week were 50 percent more likely to have the AMD condition later in life if compared to those who ate red meat less than 5 times per week. Interesting enough, people, who ate chicken three or more times per week, had 57 percent decreased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration if compared to those who ate chicken less than 1.5 times per week.

The scientists say that apparently the risk of developing AMD is not linked to any type of meat as only red meat consumption was associated with this condition.

Age-related macular degeneration is known to be the leading cause of poor-sightedness and blindness in old age that affects a person's ability to read, to drive, to recognize faces and other daily activities. AMD at advanced stage often leads to vision loss at old age.
The research was published in the recent issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.