SINGAPORE: Have you heard of fish as brain food, but eye?
Omega-3 oils in fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel help cells in the eyes resist stress, according to new research published in the November online issue of the journal Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology.
In laboratory tests, researchers at Louisiana State University exposed human eye cells to constant light and found that they could better withstand stress when supplemented with omega-3 oils.
The lead author, Professor Nicolas Bazan and his team discovered that the omega-3 fatty acid, DHA, which is abundant in blue fish, preconditions different types of retinal cells to resist Stress, how to cut off the blood supply.
Preconditioning occurs when the blood supply to an organ is interrupted briefly and then restored. The protective response to the interruption would result in a subsequent shortage of blood supply, very similar to the immunity conferred by a vaccine.
The retina is a thin layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye. It converts light into signals, which are sent to the brain, where they are interpreted to provide vision.
Damage to the retina leads to degeneration of the macula, crucial for frontal vision and, therefore, critical for reading, writing and seeing color.
Professor Bazan said the discovery could lead to new treatments for degenerative diseases of the retina.