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Research Letter
Aug 2012

Association of Vitamin D Deficiency and Age-Related Macular Degeneration in Medicare Beneficiaries

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Ophthalmology, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California (Dr Day); and Department of Economics, Duke University (Mr Acquah, Ms Platt, and Dr Sloan) and Department of Ophthalmology, Duke Eye Center (Drs Lee, Mruthyunjaya, and Sloan), Durham, North Carolina.

Arch Ophthalmol. 2012;130(8):1070-1071. doi:10.1001/archophthalmol.2012.439

Several studies have found an association between vitamin D deficiency and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).1-4 Vitamin D has been shown to have immunomodulatory and antiangiogenic properties, suggesting a biologically plausible role in the pathogenesis of AMD.5 This study examines the possible association of vitamin D deficiency and subsequent incidence of first diagnosis of nonneovascular and neovascular AMD in a cohort of Medicare beneficiaries. To our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate incidence rather than prevalence of AMD in a large sample of vitamin D–deficient patients.

For this retrospective, longitudinal cohort analysis, Medicare 5% claims files were used to identify beneficiaries diagnosed as having vitamin D deficiency. This study was approved by the Duke University Institutional Review Board.