Individuals who fast intermittently have a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to research published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology.  

Researchers enrolled 4504 participants (aged 55 years or older) in the retrospective, cross-sectional analysis. Patients underwent comprehensive eye examinations with fundus photography, provided blood samples for laboratory testing, and supplied demographic data including meal frequency. Overall 88.8% of participants reported consuming breakfast 5 to 7 times per week (nonfasting group) and 4.1% stated they often abstained from breakfast (intermittent fasting group). Associations between intermittent fasting and AMD were assessed using data between these 2 groups. 

According to the report, individuals in the intermittent fasting group were younger and had a lower percentage of participants diagnosed with hypertension and dyslipidemia than the nonfasting group. The intermittent fasting group also contained more smokers and participants dwelling in urban neighborhoods compared with control individuals (P <.001 and P =.029, respectively).


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Overall, the investigators noted AMD in 25.1% of the cohort, and a lower prevalence in the intermittent fasting group compared with individuals who did not fast (14.2 vs 25.6%; P =.001). Participants who were younger (age <70 years, adjusted odds ratio[aOR], 0.357; 95% CI, 0.153–0.833), had obesity (aOR, 0.663; 95% CI, 0.424–1.037), or lived in urban neighborhoods (aOR, 0.437; 95% CI, 0.248–0.769) who fasted intermittently had a reduced risk of AMD compared with their counterparts in the nonfasting group. Older age and increased serum high-density lipoprotein levels were independent risk factors for AMD, according to the report. 

Researchers acknowledge dietary concerns in AMD management and state, “This population-based study suggested important evidence to adapt time-restricted feeding using breakfast skipping as a clinical strategy to modulate the development and prognosis of AMD.”

Study limitations include its retrospective nature, cross-sectional design, and the potential for recall bias due to reliance on self-reporting. 

Reference

Choi EY, Kim M, Lee CS, Byeon SH, Kim SS, Lee M. Intermittent fasting is associated with a decreased risk of age-related macular degeneration. Am J Ophthalmol. Published online July 6, 2022. doi:10.1016/j.ajo.2022.06.017