PURPOSE: To determine the relationship between fish and shellfish consumption and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) status in the Salisbury Eye Evaluation (SEE) Study participants.

DESIGN: A cross-sectional study of dietary and ophthalmologic data.

PARTICIPANTS: A random sample of 2520 Salisbury, Maryland, residents aged 65 to 84 years.

METHODS: A food frequency questionnaire was used to estimate weekly fish/shellfish consumption for each participant. Age-related macular degeneration status was determined from fundus photographs obtained at baseline and graded by 2 masked readers for drusen size, retinal pigment epithelium abnormalities, geographic atrophy (GA), and choroidal neovascularization (CNV). The association between weekly fish/shellfish intake and risk of AMD was investigated using logistic regression while adjusting for risk factors and correlation between eyes.


RESULTS: The distribution of weekly fish/shellfish consumption was not different between specific AMD categories compared with controls (P = 0.6, 0.7, and 0.7 for large drusen, pigment abnormalities, and advanced AMD compared with controls, respectively). Those with advanced AMD (CNV or GA) were significantly less likely to consume fish/shellfish high in omega-3 fatty acids (odds ratio 0.4; confidence interval, 0.2-0.8). There was no relationship of AMD with intake of crab and oysters combined, each of which has high levels of zinc.

CONCLUSIONS: These data support a protective effect of fish/shellfish intake against advanced AMD.