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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

Understanding Macular Degeneration -- Diagnosis and Treatment

Your ophthalmologist or optometrist will inspect the macula, the portion of the retina that is responsible for your central vision, as part of a comprehensive eye exam. If macular degeneration is suspected, a special photographic procedure using dye, called fluorescein angiography, may be performed. The test details the pattern of your eye's blood vessels and can detect a variety of abnormalities.  

Read the Understanding Macular Degeneration -- Diagnosis and Treatment article > >

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    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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