AMD brings with it a higher risk of stroke and heart attack

Patients with age-related macular degeneration have twice the risk of dying from heart attack or stroke, according to Australian researchers.

Sydney, Australia-Patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) have twice the risk of dying from heart attack or stroke, according to Australian researchers.

"We found a positive long-term link between AMD and subsequent cardiovascular and stroke mortality in a population of older Australians," said lead researcher Paul Mitchell, MD, PhD, from the Centre for Vision Research in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Sydney. "This was particularly increased for late-blinding cases."

"Both ophthalmologists and general practitioners should be aware of this potential link and need to consider appropriate management of traditional vascular risk factors, such as smoking, blood pressure, blood lipids in their patients with AMD," Dr. Mitchell said.

When the study began people under 75 who had AMD were linked with doubling of their risk of dying from heart attack or stroke over the next 10 years. For people with late-stage AMD at the start of the study, the risk of dying from a heart attack increased five-fold, and the risk of dying from stroke increased 10 times, the team found.