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Age-Related Macular Degeneration - What Increases Your Risk

The main things that put you at risk (risk factors) for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) include:

  • Age greater than 55. Older age is the biggest risk factor for getting AMD.
  • A family history of the disease. You are much more likely to get AMD if a close relative has it.
  • Race. Whites appear to have a higher risk than blacks or Hispanics.
  • Smoking. People who smoke are about twice as likely to develop AMD than nonsmokers. The risk appears to be higher for people who have been heavy smokers or who have smoked for a long time.1

Other risk factors for developing AMD may include:1

Recommended Related to Macular Degeneration

Age-Related Macular Degeneration Diagnosis & Tests

Age-related macular degeneration can be detected in a routine eye exam. One of the most common early signs of macular degeneration is the presence of drusen -- tiny yellow deposits under the retina. Your doctor can see these when examining your eyes. Your doctor may also ask you to look at an Amsler grid -- a pattern of straight lines that resemble a checkerboard. Some of the straight lines may appear wavy to you, or you may notice that some of the lines are missing. These can be signs of macular...

Read the Age-Related Macular Degeneration Diagnosis & Tests article > >

  • Deposits at the back of the eye, called drusen. Eyes with large, soft drusen deposits are at a greater risk for developing abnormal blood vessels and wet AMD.
  • A diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • Not getting enough carotenoids, antioxidant vitamins, and zinc in your diet.
1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 12, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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