ophthalmoscope view of a retina

Almost all older adults will be affected by cataracts and some 50 percent of people older than 75 years will be diagnosed with dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) that can greatly diminish quality of life and independence. HNRCA researchers are discovering nutritional interventions that appear to delay onset or progression of these diseases and have new evidence that limiting intake of certain types of macronutrients, specifically, highly refined grains and highly processed carbohydrates can prolong visual function. Our research that involves the use of human data, laboratory models and cell free approaches is defining the relationship between diet, genotypes, the microbiome and metabolic products.

Key research objectives

  • Determine how diet, the interactions of diet and specific foods/food components with individual/population genetics and/or the microbiome, as well as how etiologic factors including nutrients, metabolites, and enzymes, are related to eye health and the onset, prevalence, and progress of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataract during aging.
  • Identify mechanisms by which retina and lens function are maintained throughout life.

Eloy Bejarano-Fernandez, PhD
Sheldon Rowan, PhD
Allen Taylor, PhD
Elizabeth Whitcomb, PhD