Family history primary factor in development of AMD

May 2, 2005

Numerous factors have been studied to determine an association with the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to Barbara Klein, MD, of the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

May 2 - Fort Lauderdale, FL - Numerous factors have been studied to determine an association with the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to Barbara Klein, MD, of the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

A very important factor for the most common form of AMD is age. Most studies show an increase in severity and frequency of AMD lesions with age in patients 75 years of age and older compared with younger individuals.

Other risk factors, such as sex, blood pressure, and cigarette smoking, have been studied but the results are less definitive.

By far, the factor that has the strongest correlation with the development of AMD is family history, according to Dr. Klein. "It has become apparent that this familial risk is at least in part the result of genetic factors," she said at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.

Several investigators, she pointed out, have identified candidate regions in a variety of places in the genome. For example, in the Beaver Dam study, in which 602 families participated, analysis of the CFH gene locus is pending, but linkage has been to 1p35 and 15q22.

"The influence of any particular gene may be dependent on the effect of other genes and the environment. An approach that embraces personal and environmental factors and modifier genes is likely to be the most informative way to find out more about AMD," she said.