BACKGROUND AND AIMS:
Consumption of antioxidant nutrients can reduce the risk of progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) - the leading cause of visual impairment in adults over the age of 50 years in the UK. Lutein and zeaxanthin (L&Z) are of particular interest because they are selectively absorbed by the central retina. The objectives of this study were to analyse the dietary intake of a group of AMD patients, assess their ability to prepare and cook healthy food, and to make comparisons with people not affected by AMD.
158 participants with AMD were recruited via the UK charity The Macular Society, and fifty participants without AMD were recruited from optometric practice. A telephone interview was conducted by trained workers where participants completed a 24 h food diary, and answered questions about cooking and shopping capabilities.
In the AMD group, the average L&Z intake was low in for both males and females. Those able to cook a hot meal consumed significantly more L&Z than those who were not able. Most participants were not consuming the recommended dietary allowance of fibre, calcium, vitamin D and E, and calorific intake was also lower than recommendations for their age-group. The non-AMD group consumed more kilocalories and more nutrients than the AMD group, but the L&Z intake was similar to those with AMD. The main factor that influenced participant's food choices was personal preference.
For an 'informed' population, many AMD participants were under-consuming nutrients considered to be useful for their condition. Participants without AMD were more likely to reach recommended daily allowance values for energy and a range of nutrients. It is therefore essential to design more effective dietary education and dissemination methods for people with, and at risk of, AMD.
Stevens, R., Bartlett, H., & Cooke, R. (2015). Dietary analysis and nutritional behaviour in people with and without age-related macular disease. Clinical nutrition ESPEN, 10(3), e112-e117. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clnesp.2015.03.080