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Lifestyle Linked to Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Study finds elderly female drinkers, smokers have increased risk of macular degeneration

MONDAY, Jan. 4 (HealthDay News) -- In elderly women, alcohol consumption and smoking are strongly associated with an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to a study in the January issue of the American Journal of Ophthalmology.

Anne L. Coleman, M.D., of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California in Los Angeles, and colleagues studied 1,958 women who attended the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures year-10 and year-15 follow-up clinic visits and had fundus photographs taken at both visits. At the 10-year visit, the subjects had a mean age of 78.2 years.

The researchers' adjusted analysis showed that alcohol consumption was associated with an increased risk of incident early AMD (odds ratio, 1.57). They also found that current smoking among subjects aged 80 years and older was associated with a dramatically increased risk of early AMD compared to nonsmoking among subjects under age 80 years (odds ratio, 5.49).

"The greater-than-additive risk of AMD associated with smoking among those 80 years or older compared to those under age 80 is a particularly noteworthy finding that reinforces recommendations to quit smoking, even for older adults," the authors conclude. "Additional research in older populations would be valuable to refine our understanding of the underlying risks related to AMD."

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