Macular Degeneration Linked with Range of Illnesses

More blindness, vision loss, depression and hip fracture among elders with the disease

TUESDAY, Mar. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Elderly patients with age-related macular degeneration are more likely than their counterparts without the eye disease to experience a wide range of illnesses, including depression, hip fracture and blindness, according to a report published in the March issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

Ashley Wysong, of Duke University School of Medicine in Durham N.C., and colleagues studied Medicare claims data on 32,702 adults aged 68 years and older who were newly diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration in 1994 and 32,702 matched controls, who were all followed up in 2004 to ascertain the prevalence of a range of health conditions.

Rates of blindness, vision loss, depression, hip fracture and nursing home residence were higher among the patients with age-related macular degeneration versus those without, and they had a higher prevalence of 11 other general health conditions such as congestive heart failure, dementia and liver disease, the investigators found.

"This nationally longitudinal study documents increased rates of visual and functional health complications that occurred within 10 years of an age-related macular degeneration diagnosis," the authors write. "These findings demonstrate that the health issues of the age-related macular degeneration population are multifaceted, especially when viewed in a 10-year period, highlighting the importance of a multidisciplinary, integrated approach to the care of elderly persons with an age-related macular degeneration diagnosis."

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Jane Parry

Jane Parry

Published on March 10, 2009

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