Skip to content

    Eye Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Fewer Americans Have AMD

    Less Smoking, Healthier Lifestyles May Be Warding Off Vision-Robbing Eye Disease in Older Adults, Researchers Say
    By
    WebMD Health News
    Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

    Jan. 10, 2011 -- Fewer adults in the U.S. are developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), possibly because of healthier lifestyles, researchers report in this month's Archives of Ophthalmology.

    AMD is an eye disease that gradually makes it difficult to see fine details, such as numbers on a watch or letters on a street sign. It is a leading cause of vision loss among people aged 60 and older, according to the National Eye Institute. Smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, and a family history of AMD increase your chances of developing the disease.

    Ronald Klein, MD, MPH, of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, and colleagues reviewed data from the 2005-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to determine the overall number of Americans with AMD. More than 7,000 patients aged 40 and older participated in the survey and underwent digital eye imaging, which reveals changes in the eye's retina.

    The Study

    The new report finds that 6.5% of middle-aged and older adults in the U.S. had signs of the eye disease in 2005-2008. Non-Hispanic blacks aged 60 and older had lower rates of AMD than non-Hispanic whites of the same age.

    The findings are a stark contrast to an earlier NHANES analysis from 1998 to1994, which estimated that AMD developed in 9.4% of Americans.

    Study authors say lower rates of smoking, improved blood pressure management, and an increase in healthier diets and exercise programs may have contributed to the decline in AMD among older adults.

    Today on WebMD

    Woman holding tissue to reddened eye
    Learn about causes, symptoms, and treatments.
    eye
    Simple annoyance or the sign of a problem?
     
    red eyes
    Symptoms, triggers, and treatments.
    blue eye with contact lens
    Tips for wearing and caring.
     
    Understanding Stye
    Article
    human eye
    Article
     
    eye
    Video
    eye exam timing
    Video
     
    vision test
    Tool
    is vision correction surgery for you
    Article
     
    high tech contacts
    Article
    eye drop
    Article