Skip to content

Eye Health Center

Font Size

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

Macular Degeneration: Preserving Eyesight

Q: My mother, 63, recently learned she has early signs of age-related macular degeneration. What can she do to preserve her eyesight? Would certain nutritional supplements help? A: Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is the most common of all retinal disorders (damage to the eye's retina) and the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in older adults. Researchers have identified both hereditary and environmental factors. Although you can't change your genes, you can help preserve...

Read the Macular Degeneration: Preserving Eyesight 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.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: September 09, 2014
    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.
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    Woman holding tissue to reddened eye
    Learn about causes, symptoms, and treatments.
    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
    human eye
    eye exam timing
    vision test
    is vision correction surgery for you
    high tech contacts
    eye drop