OBJECTIVE: To systematically review the evidence on dietary omega-3 fatty acid and fish intake in the primary prevention of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

METHODS: Seven databases were systematically searched with no limits on publication year or language using standardized criteria. Randomized controlled trials and prospective cohort, case-control, and cross-sectional studies were included. Of 2754 abstracts identified, 3 prospective cohort, 3 case-control, and 3 cross-sectional studies met the criteria. Measures of associations were pooled quantitatively using meta-analytic methods.

RESULTS: Nine studies provided data on a total sample of 88 974 people, including 3203 AMD cases. A high dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids was associated with a 38% reduction in the risk of late AMD (pooled odds ratio [OR], 0.62; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.48-0.82). Fish intake at least twice a week was associated with a reduced risk of both early AMD (pooled OR, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.64-0.90) and late AMD (pooled OR, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.53-0.85).

CONCLUSIONS: Although this meta-analysis suggests that consumption of fish and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids may be associated with a lower risk of AMD, there is insufficient evidence from the current literature, with few prospective studies and no randomized clinical trials, to support their routine consumption for AMD prevention.