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Sun Exposure, Antioxidant Status May Predict AMD Risk

Increased risk observed in subjects with high blue light exposure and low antioxidant levels

MONDAY, Oct. 13 (HealthDay News) -- A combination of blue light exposure and low blood levels of antioxidants may be associated with an increased risk of neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD), as well as early AMD, according to research published in the October issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

Astrid E. Fletcher, Ph.D., of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in London, U.K., and colleagues analyzed data on sunlight exposure and antioxidants in 101 subjects with neovascular AMD, 2,182 subjects with early AMD and 2,117 control subjects aged 65 and older, who were enrolled in the European Eye Study.

The researchers found significant associations between blue light exposure and neovascular AMD in subjects with the lowest levels of vitamin C, zeaxanthin, vitamin E and dietary zinc (odds ratio about 1.4 for 1 standard deviation unit increase in blue light exposure). They also found significant associations between combined blue light exposure and low antioxidant levels with early AMD (OR, 3.7).

"Although it is not possible to establish causality between sunlight exposure and neovascular AMD, our results suggest that people in the general population should use ocular protection and follow dietary recommendations for the key antioxidant nutrients," the authors conclude.

Several researchers report receiving grants from the Alcon Research Institute and Bausch & Lomb.

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