An orange a day keeps macular degeneration away: 15-year study

July 12, 2018, Westmead Institute for Medical Research
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

A new study has shown that people who regularly eat oranges are less likely to develop macular degeneration than people who do not eat oranges.

Researchers at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research interviewed more than 2,000 Australian adults aged over 50 and followed them over a 15-year period.

The research showed that people who ate at least one serving of oranges every day had more than a 60% reduced risk of developing late macular degeneration 15 years later.

Lead Researcher Associate Professor Bamini Gopinath from the University of Sydney said the data showed that flavonoids in oranges appear to help prevent against the eye disease.

"Essentially we found that people who eat at least one serve of every day have a reduced risk of developing macular degeneration compared with people who never eat oranges," she said.

"Even eating an orange once a week seems to offer significant benefits.

"The data shows that flavonoids found in oranges appear to help protect against the disease."

Associate Professor Gopinath said that until now most research has focused on the effects of common nutrients such as vitamins C, E and A on the eyes.

"Our research is different because we focused on the relationship between flavonoids and macular degeneration.

"Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants found in almost all fruits and vegetables, and they have important anti-inflammatory benefits for the immune system.

"We examined common foods that contain flavonoids such as tea, apples, red wine and oranges.

"Significantly, the data did not show a relationship between other food sources protecting the eyes against the disease," she said.

One in seven Australians over 50 have some signs of . Age is the strongest known risk factor and the disease is more likely to occur after the age of 50.

There is currently no cure for the .

The research compiled data from the Blue Mountains Eye Study, a benchmark population-based study that started in 1992.

It is one of the world's largest epidemiology studies, measuring diet and lifestyle factors against health outcomes and a range of chronic diseases.

"Our research aims to understand why eye diseases occur, as well as the genetic and environmental conditions that may threaten vision," Associate Professor Gopinath concluded.

Explore further: Do vitamin supplements prevent macular degeneration?

More information: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2018). DOI: 10.1093/ajcn/nqy114

Related Stories

Do vitamin supplements prevent macular degeneration?

October 31, 2017
Vitamin and mineral supplements won't prevent the development of age-related macular degeneration. But there is some evidence taking supplements containing vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc may slow the progression of age-related ...

Healthy diet, healthy eyes

April 20, 2018
(HealthDay)—Healthy eating may help preserve your vision as you age, eye experts say.

Five ways to protect your eye health

May 25, 2018
(HealthDay)—Your risk of vision problems increases with age, but there are things you can do to protect your sight, eye doctors say.

Antioxidants: the good health helpers

February 23, 2018
(HealthDay)—Antioxidants—it's a hot nutrition buzzword, but do you know what they really are?

Levodopa shows promise against macular degeneration

November 13, 2015
(HealthDay)— Levodopa (L-dopa) might hold potential for preventing or treating macular degeneration, according to a study published online Oct. 30 in The American Journal of Medicine.

Recommended for you

Researchers are one step closer to developing eye drops to treat age-related macular degeneration

July 19, 2018
Scientists at the University of Birmingham are one step closer to developing an eye drop that could revolutionise treatment for age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

An orange a day keeps macular degeneration away: 15-year study

July 12, 2018
A new study has shown that people who regularly eat oranges are less likely to develop macular degeneration than people who do not eat oranges.

Injectable electronics offer powerful new tool in understanding how retinal cells work

June 28, 2018
Charles Lieber and his group are rewriting the rules of how scientists study retinal cells, and they're doing it with a single injection.

Why the eye could be the window to brain degeneration such as Alzheimer's disease

June 26, 2018
Researchers from Queen's University Belfast have shown for the first time that the eye could be a surrogate for brain degeneration like Alzheimer's disease (AD).

Microglia protect sensory cells needed for vision after retinal detachment

June 18, 2018
A research team at Massachusetts Eye and Ear has shown that microglia, the primary immune cells of the brain and retina, play a protective role in response to retinal detachment. Retinal detachment and subsequent degeneration ...

161 genetic factors for myopia identified

June 15, 2018
The international Consortium for Refractive Error and Myopia (CREAM) recently published the largest-ever genetic study of myopia in Nature Genetics. Researchers from the Gutenberg Health Study at the Medical Center of Johannes ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.