At some point in the next month, the feds are expected to approve a new drug to help treat macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in seniors.

And if the $2,000-a-pop price tag doesn't cause your eyes to pop right out of your head, maybe this will: The drug, called Eylea, is injected directly into the eyeball.


Sure, it's done with some anesthesia -- but there's the potential for serious pain once it wears off, along with the possibility of increased pressure in the eyeball, and hemorrhaging in the white.

Might be a great look for Halloween... but probably not ideal for the other 364 days of the year.

The cost and side effects are right in line with the other major treatment for macular degeneration, a drug called Lucentis. The only difference is that Lucentis is injected monthly, while Eylea can be done every other month.

But what if you didn't have to deal with the needles, side effects, cost or -- more importantly -- the macular degeneration itself?

It might be a lot easier than you think -- and it starts with eating a little more seafood.

Dutch researchers examined data on 2,167 volunteers aged 55 or older and found that those with certain gene variations linked to macular degeneration were able to lower their risk by boosting their intake of omega-3 fatty acids and zinc.

One variation, CFH, can boost the risk of macular degeneration by 11 times -- but the researchers found that some seniors were able to beat those odds by getting higher levels of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA as well as zinc, beta-carotene, and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.

Another gene variation, called LOC387715S, is known to increase the risk of macular degeneration by 15 times -- but researchers say seniors who had higher levels of zinc, EPA and DHA were more likely to avoid the disease than those who had lower levels.

The best sources of EPA and DHA, of course, are the fatty fish that should be a steady part of your diet anyway. But zinc's a little tougher to come by: Oysters are loaded with it, but a steady shellfish diet can get pricey.

Add a supplement instead -- especially if you already know you may be predisposed to macular degeneration.

P.S. For more on the connection between fish oil and eye health, read "Fish is 'see' food." And for a promising but yet-unproven treatment for macular degeneration, read "Flowers for your eyes."