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Clinical Sciences
March 2000

Hypertension, Cardiovascular Disease, and Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Leslie Hyman, PhD; Andrew P. Schachat, MD; Qimei He, PhD; et al M. Cristina Leske, MD, MPH; for the Age-Related Macular Degeneration Risk Factors Study Group
Author Affiliations

From the Department of Preventive Medicine, Division of Epidemiology, University Medical Center, Stony Brook, NY (Drs Hyman, He, and Leske); and the Retinal Vascular Center, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Md (Dr Schachat).

Arch Ophthalmol. 2000;118(3):351-358. doi:10.1001/archopht.118.3.351
Abstract

Objectives  To describe a case-control study of risk factors for neovascular and non-neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and to present findings on associations with systemic hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

Methods  Participants with and without neovascular and non-neovascular AMD were recruited from 11 ophthalmology practices in the New York, NY, metropolitan area. Comprehensive data collection included (1) a standardized interview, (2) blood pressure measurements, and (3) blood samples. Cases and controls were classified from fundus photograph gradings. Polychotomous logistic regression analyses were used to evaluate associations.

Results  Classification of 1222 sets of available photographs resulted in the inclusion of a neovascular case group (n = 182), a non-neovascular case group (n = 227), and a control group (n = 235). Neovascular AMD was positively associated with diastolic blood pressure greater than 95 mm Hg (odds ratio [OR] = 4.4), self-reported use of potent antihypertensive medication (OR = 2.1), physician-reported history of hypertension (OR = 1.8), use of antihypertensive medication (OR = 2.5), combinations of self-reported and physician-reported data on hypertension and its treatment (OR = 1.7), high-density lipoprotein level (OR = 2.3), and dietary cholesterol level (OR = 2.2). Non-neovascular AMD was unrelated to hypertension or cholesterol level. No associations were found between either AMD type and other definitions of hypertension or other cardiovascular disease.

Conclusions  These findings suggest that neovascular AMD is associated with moderate to severe hypertension, particularly among patients receiving antihypertensive treatment. They also support the hypotheses that neovascular and non-neovascular AMD may have a different pathogenesis and that neovascular AMD and hypertensive disease may have a similar underlying systemic process.

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