Degenerative Mascular Eye Disease


Degenerative Mascular Eye Disease  

People with age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of severe vision loss, have double the usual risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke.

Age-related macular degeneration is a chronic disease that affects the central part of the retina of the eye, resulting in blurred central vision or a blind spot in the centre of one's visual field. It does not affect peripheral vision, but the loss of clear central vision can rob a person of the ability to read, drive and recognize people's faces even without causing total blindness.

Australian researchers studied more than 3,000 people who were all older than 49 years at the beginning of the study between 1992 and 1994. Over the following 10 years, the researchers conducted two general health and eye exams five years apart that included physical checks and photographs of the retina.

They found that for people under the age of 75 when the study began, those who developed early age-related macular degeneration had twice the risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke within the next decade.
People with the late stage of the incurable disease at the start of the study had five times the risk of dying from a heart attack, and 10 times the risk of dying from a stroke.

However, the finding that late age-related macular degeneration predicts stroke or cardiovascular mortality was based on relatively small numbers and should be interpreted cautiously.

It is not known what is actually triggering the elevated risk but one explanation may be that the eye disease is simply a sign of older age when people are more prone to heart attacks and strokes.

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