Regular orange eaters are 60 per cent less likely to have developed the disease 15 years later, a new research study has discovered.
People who eat an orange a day are the least likely to suffer from macular degeneration when they're elderly, but even eating an orange once in a while also has some protective effect.
Although vitamins C, E and A are supposed to be keep our eyes healthy, it was the flavonoids specifically found in oranges that seemed to have the greatest benefit, say researchers from the University of Sydney.
They tracked the eating habits of more than 2,000 people aged 50 and over for 15 years. The participants were eating other healthy foods and drinks, and especially those that contain anti-inflammatory flavonoids, such as tea, apples and red wine, but it was only those who regularly ate oranges that reduced their chances of macular degeneration, and especially compared to those who never ate oranges.
"The data didn't show a relationship between other food sources protecting the eyes against the disease," said lead researcher Bamini Gopinath.
One in seven people over the age of 50 will be affected by macular degeneration to some extent.