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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

Symptoms of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

In its early stages, age-related macular degeneration may not have symptoms and may be unrecognized until it progresses or affects both eyes. The first sign of macular degeneration is usually distortion of straight lines. This may progress to a gradual loss of central vision. Symptoms of macular degeneration include: Straight lines start to appear distorted, or the center of vision becomes distorted Dark, blurry areas or white out appears in the center of vision Diminished or changed...

Read the Symptoms of Age-Related Macular Degeneration 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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