PARIS — Recently published results of the Nutritional AMD Treatment 2 study showed a significant reduction of choroidal neovascularization incidence in patients who received a supplement of docosahexaenoic acid and had a high biological response to it.
Over the last decade, studies in many populations have shown the positive effects of omega-3 fatty acids on the cardiovascular system and the retina. In age-related macular degeneration, a reduction between 30% to 60% of the progression to the advanced stages of the disease has been reported, Pascale Benlian, MD, said at the meeting of the French Society of Ophthalmology.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is the most abundant omega-3 fatty acid in the retina, Benlian said. The NAT 2 study, a double-blind, randomized study carried out at the University of Créteil, France, compared the effects of oral DHA supplementation with placebo in the prevention of exudative AMD in 298 patients with early lesions in one eye and wet AMD in the fellow eye.
Patients were selected to receive daily supplementation with either 840 mg/day of DHA (fish oil capsules) or placebo (olive oil capsules).
“At 3 years, no significant difference was found in CNV incidence between the two groups,” Benlian said.
However, 25% of the patients in the DHA group were found to have steadily high levels of DHA in the blood. In these high responders, the DHA level in the red blood cell membrane was doubled.
“[In] these patients, the risk of developing CNV was reduced by almost 70% over 3 years,” Benlian said.
The factors determining the different response in this group of patients will have to be investigated in further studies, she said.
Disclosure: Benlian has no relevant financial disclosures.