Eating fruit regularly earlier in life may help ward off macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss in older adults, according to study findings from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. The chronic eye disease occurs when the macula - a small part of the retina - deteriorates, causing a loss of central vision.
But the report said there appeared to be no strong protective effect from vegetables, vitamins or carotenoids, the compounds that make some fruits and vegetables red, orange or yellow.
The study looked at data from 77,562 women and 40,866 men who were followed for 12 to 18 years as part of long-term studies tracking them for a variety of health issues.
It found that both men and women who consumed three or more servings of unspecified fruit a day had a 36% decreased risk of developing macular degeneration.
Because there are a limited number of treatment options for age-related macular degeneration, clinicians and researchers have been focused on identifying factors that reduce risk and can ultimately save a person's eyesight.
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