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Editorial
Dec 2011

Risk Assessment Models for Late Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison.

Arch Ophthalmol. 2011;129(12):1605-1606. doi:10.1001/archophthalmol.2011.372

When patients are told by their ophthalmologist that they have early signs of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), they often ask about the risk of their AMD progressing. Long-term epidemiological studies that have collected information on the prevalence, incidence, and natural history of AMD provide data to answer this question.13 These studies have shown that risk is influenced by many things, including the severity of the signs of AMD that are already present (eg, drusen size, area of involvement, and type and presence of pigmentary abnormalities), demographic factors (eg, age, sex, and race/ethnicity), family history of the disease, lifestyle factors (eg, smoking, heavy drinking, and physical activity), medical conditions (eg, inflammatory and pulmonary disease), environmental exposures (eg, light), and ocular factors (eg, history of cataract surgery).4 Risk assessment models account for multiple exposures that may influence risk. These have been useful for heart disease and have recently been developed for AMD.59 These models may also help to decide on the interval of follow-up and whether to suggest options for preventive care (eg, dietary supplements and specific foods).

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