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Julie Mares

Julie A. Mares

Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison
Professor, Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
jmarespe@wisc.edu
https://www.ophth.wisc.edu/directory/faculty/?person=jmarespe


Diet and Age-related Eye Diseases

The primary goal of my research program is to evaluate relationships of diet and nutritional status to the onset and progression of common age-related eye diseases of age-related cataract, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy. We conduct studies in large population groups using epidemiological techniques in which diets or bioindicators that reflect nutritional status are compared in people in whom these conditions are absent and those in whom various stages of these conditions are present. Results across studies in several different populations helps us to understand the likelihood that certain changes in dietary practices or lifestyle could influence the development of these conditions, which are becoming increasingly common as the population ages.

We evaluate many interrelated aspects of diet. In some studies, we use a non-invasive flicker photometry test to evaluate levels of plant pigments (the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin) that accumulate in eye tissues and comprise macular pigment. We study the aspects of diet, health and lifestyle that are related to higher levels of these eye carotenoids. We estimate relationships of higher levels of these pigments to the occurrence of cataracts and macular degeneration.

We measure blood levels of carotenoids, vitamin E and vitamin D, and study relationships to age-related eye diseases. We collect extensive information about foods eaten and supplements taken so that we can evaluate associations with single attributes of diet and the broader aspects of diet and lifestyle that these represent. We also directly evaluate broader diet patterns that reflect adherence to US Dietary Guidelines and other eating patterns that have been associated with lower risk of chronic disease (such as the Mediterranean diet pattern).

We have been evaluating genetic predictors of eye health, as well. This is because the importance of diet may be much stronger in people who either have strong or weak genetic susceptibility. The genes which are associated with having certain conditions also provide evidence about the specific ways in which food components influence eye health.

Ultimately, we translate our research findings into practical recommendations for healthy living at any age, to maximize eye health in one's later years, in ways that are compatible with overall health of individuals and the communities in which we live.



Representative Publications
Millen, A. E., Sahli, M. W., Nie, J., LaMonte, M. J., Lutsey, P. L., Klein, B. E., Mares, J. A., Meyers, K. J., Andrews, C. A., & Klein, R. (2016). Adequate vitamin D status is associated with the reduced odds of prevalent diabetic retinopathy in African Americans and Caucasians. Cardiovascular Diabetology, 15(1), 128.
View publication via DOI: DOI:10.1186/s12933-016-0434-1

Sahli, M. W., Mares, J. A., Meyers, K. J., Klein, R., Brady, W. E., Klein, B. E., Ochs-Balcom, H. M., Donahue, R. P., & Millen, A. E. (2016). Dietary intake of lutein and diabetic retinopathy in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (ARIC). Ophthalmic Epidemiology, 23(2), 99-108.
View publication via DOI: DOI:10.3109/09286586.2015.1129426

Mares, J. (2015). Food antioxidants to prevent cataract. JAMA, 313(10), 1048-1049.
View publication via DOI: DOI:10.1001/jama.2014.15301

Millen, A. E., Meyers, K. J., Liu, Z., Engelman, C. D., Wallace, R. B., LeBlanc, E. S., Tinker, L. F., Iyengar, S. K., Robinson, J. G., Sarto, G. E., & Mares, J. A. (2015). Association between vitamin D status and age-related macular degeneration by genetic risk. JAMA Ophthalmology, 133(10), 1171-1179.
View publication via DOI: DOI:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2015.2715

Rao, P., Millen, A. E., Meyers, K. J., Liu, Z., Voland, R., Sondel, S., Tinker, L., Wallace, R. B., Blodi, B. A., Binkley, N., Sarto, G., Robinson, J., LeBlanc, E., & Mares, J. A. (2015). The relationship between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and nuclear cataract in the carotenoid age-related eye study (CAREDS), an ancillary study of the women's health initiative. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, 56(8), 4221-4230.
View publication via DOI: DOI:10.1167/iovs.15-16835

Meyers, K. J., Liu, Z., Millen, A. E., Iyengar, S. K., Blodi, B. A., Johnson, E., Snodderly, D. M., Klein, M. L., Gehrs, K. M., Tinker, L., Sarto, G. E., Robinson, J., Wallace, R. B., & Mares, J. A. (2015). Joint associations of diet, lifestyle, and genes with age-related macular degeneration. Ophthalmology, 122(11), 2286-2294.
View publication via DOI: DOI:10.1016/j.ophtha.2015.07.029

Meyers, K. J., Mares, J. A., Igo, R. P., Jr., Truitt, B., Liu, Z., Millen, A. E., . . . Engelman, C. D., . . . Iyengar, S. K. (2014). Genetic evidence for role of carotenoids in age-related macular degeneration in the Carotenoids in Age-Related Eye Disease Study (CAREDS). Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, 55(1), 587-99.
View publication via DOI: DOI:10.1167/iovs.13-13216

Meyers, K. J., Johnson, E. J., Bernstein, P. S., Iyengar, S. K., Engelman, C. D., Karki, C. K., . . . Mares, J. A. (2013). Genetic determinants of macular pigments in women of the carotenoids in age-related eye disease study. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, 54(3), 2333-2345.
View publication via DOI: DOI:10.1167/iovs.12-10867

McKay, G. J., Loane, E., Nolan, J. M., Patterson, C. C., Meyers, K. J., Mares, J. A., . . . Silvestri, G. (2013). Investigation of genetic variation in scavenger receptor class B, member 1 (scarb1) and association with serum carotenoids. Ophthalmology, 120(8), 1632-1640.
View publication via DOI: DOI:10.1016/j.ophtha.2013.01.030

Engelman, C. D., Meyers, K. J., Iyengar, S. K., Liu, Z., Karki, C. K., Igo, R. P., Jr., . . . Mares, J. A., Millen, A. E. (2013). Vitamin D intake and season modify the effects of the GC and CYP2R1 genes on 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations. Journal of Nutrition, 143(1), 17-26.
View publication via DOI: DOI:10.3945/jn.112.169482

Mares, J. A., Millen, A. E., & Meyers, K. J. (2012). Diet and Supplements in the Prevention and Treatment of Eye Diseases. In A. Coulston (Ed.), Nutrition in the prevention and treatment of disease (3rd ed., pp. 341-372). San Diego, Elsevier, Inc.

Millen, A.E., Voland, R., Sondel, S., Parekh, N., Horst, R.L., Wallace, R.B., ...Mares, J.A. (2011). Vitamin D status and intermediate age-related macular degeneration in postmenopausal women. Archives of Ophthalmology, 129(4), 481-89.
View publication via DOI: DOI:10.1001/archophthalmol.2011.48

Mares, J.A., Voland, R., Sondel, S.A., Millen, A.E., LaRowe, T., Moeller, S.M., ... Wallace, R.B. (2011). Healthy Lifestyles Related to Subsequent Prevalence of Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Archives of Ophthalmology, 129(4), 470-480.
View publication via DOI: DOI:10.1001/archophthalmol.2010.314

Kluczynski, M. A., Lamonte, M. J., Mares, J. A., Wactawski-Wende, J., Smith, A. W., Engelman, C. D., . . . Millen, A. E. (2011). Duration of physical activity and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D status of postmenopausal women. Annals of Epidemiology, 21(6), 440-449.
View publication via DOI: DOI:10.1016/j.annepidem.2010.11.011

Mares, J.A., Voland, R.P., Adker, R., Tinker, L., Millen, A.E., Moeller, S.M., ... Sarto, G. (2010). Healthy diets and the subsequent prevalence of nuclear cataract in women. Archives of Ophthalmology, 128(6), 738-749.
View publication via DOI: DOI:10.1001/archophthalmol.2010.84

Parekh, N., Voland, R.P., Moeller, S.M., Blodi, B.A., Ritenbaugh, C., Chappell, R.J., Wallace, R.B., Mares, J.A. & CAREDS Research Study Group. (2009). Association between dietary fat intake and age-related macular degeneration in the Carotenoids in Age-Related Eye Disease Study (CAREDS): An ancillary study of the Women's Health Initiative. Archives of Ophthalmology, 127(11), 1483-1493.
Click here to download this publication.
View publication via DOI: DOI:10.1001/archophthalmol.2009.130

Moeller, S.M., Voland, R., Sarto, G.E., Gobel, V.L., Streicher, S.L., & Mares, J.A. (2009). Women's Health Initiative diet intervention did not increase macular pigment optical density in an ancillary study of a subsample of the Women's Health Initiative. Journal of Nutrition, 139(9), 1692-1699.
View publication via DOI: DOI:10.3945/jn.109.107748

Mares, J.A., & Millen, A.E. (2008). Diet and supplements in the rrevention and treatment of eye diseases. In A. Coulston (Ed.), Nutrition in the prevention and treatment of disease (2nd ed., Chapt. 18). San Diego, CA: Elsevier, Inc.

Mares, J.A. (2008). Foods and supplements in the prevention and treatment of age-related macular degeneration. In Albert & Jakobiec (Eds.), Principles and Practice of Ophthalmology (3rd ed.). San Diego, CA: Elsevier, Inc.

Moeller, S., Voland, R., Tinker, L., Blodi, B., Klein, M., Gehrs, K., Johnson, E., Snodderly, M., Wallace, R., Chappell, R., Parekh, N., Ritenbaugh, C., & Mares, J.A. (2008). Associations between age-related nuclear cataract and lutein and zeaxanthin in the diet and serum in the Carotenoids in Age-Related Eye Disease Study (CAREDS), an ancillary study of the Women's Health Initiative. Arch. Ophthalmol., 126(3), 354-36.
View publication via DOI: DOI:10.1001/archopht.126.3.354

LaRowe, T.L., Mares, J.A., Snodderly, D.M., Klein, M.L., Wooten, B.R., & Chappell, R. (2008). Macular pigment and age-related maculopathy in the carotenoids in Age-Related Eye Disease Study, an ancillary study of the Women's Health Initiative. Ophthalmol., 115 (5), 876-883.
View publication via DOI: DOI:10.1016/j.ophtha.2007.06.015

Parekh, N., Chappell, R.J., Millen, A.E., Albert, D.M., & Mares, J.A. (2007). Association between vitamin D and age-related macular degeneration in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988 through 1994. Arch. Ophthalmol., 125(5), 661-669.

Moeller, S.M., Parekh, N., Tinker, L., Ritenbaugh, C., Blodi, B., Wallace, R.B., & Mares, J.A. (2006). Associations between intermediate age-related macular degeneration and lutein and zeaxanthin in the Carotenoids in Age-related Eye Disease Study (CAREDS): an ancillary study of the Women's Health Initiative. Arch. Ophthalmol., 124, 1151-1162.

Mares, J.A., LaRowe, T.L., Snodderly, D.M., Moeller, S.M., Gruber, M.J., Klein, M.L., Wooten, B.R., Johnson, E.J., & Chappell, R. (2006). Predictors of optical density of lutein and zeaxanthin in retinas of older women in the Carotenoids in Age-Related Eye Disease Study, an ancillary study of the Women's Health Initiative. Am. J. Clin. Nutr., 84, 1107-22.

Mares, J.A., & Moeller, S. (2006). Diet and age-related macular degeneration- expanding our view. Am. J. Clin. Nutr., 83, 733-734.

Whitehead, A.J., Mares, J.A., & Danis, R.P. (2006). Macular pigment: A review of current knowledge. Arch. Ophthalmol., 124, 1038-1054.

Mares, J.A. (2006). Commentary: dietary intake of antioxidants and risk of age-related macular degeneration. Arch. Ophthalmol., 124, 1339-1340.

Mares, J.A., Ficek, T., & Blodi, B. (2004). Doctor what vitamins should I take for my eyes? Arch. Ophthalmo.l, 122, 628-635.

Snodderly, M., Mares, J.A., Wooten, B.R., Oxton, L.L., Gruber, M., & Ficek T. (2004). Macular pigment measurement by heterochromatic flicker photometry in older subjects. The Carotenoids and Age-Related Eye disease Study (CAREDS). Invest. Opthalmol. Vis. Sci., 45(2), 531-538.
View publication via DOI: DOI:10.1167/iovs.03-0762

Mares, J.A. (2004). Vitamin supplements and cataract. Nutr. Rev., 62(1), 28-32.

Millen, A.E., Klein, R., Folsom, A.R., Stevens, J., Palta, M., & Mares, J.A. (2004). Relationships of dietary vitamins C and E to diabetic retinopathy in the atherosclerosis risk in communities study. Am. J. Clin. Nutr., 79, 865-73.

Millen, A.E., Gruber, M., Klein, R., Klein, B.E.K., Palta, M., & Mares, J.A. (2003). Relations of serum ascorbic acid and alpha-tocopherol to diabetic retinopathy in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Am. J. Epidemiol., 158, 225-33.
View publication via DOI: DOI:10.1093/aje/kwg116

Millen, A.E., Gruber, M., Klein, R., Klein, B.E.K., Wright, J.D., Palta, M., & Mares, J.A. (2003). Relationships of serum ascorbic acid and -Tocopherol to diabetic retinopathy in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III). Am. J. Epidemiol, 158, 225-233.


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