Cross Sectional and Longitudinal Associations between Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Age Related Macular Degeneration in the EPIC-Norfolk Eye Study

Jennifer L Y Yip, Anthony P Khawaja, Michelle P Y Chan, David C Broadway, Tunde Peto, Adnan Tufail, Robert Luben, Shabina Hayat, Amit Bhaniani, Nicholas J Wareham, Kay-Tee Khaw, Paul J Foster

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PURPOSE: To examine the cross sectional and longitudinal relationship between cardiovascular risk factors and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in a large British cohort study.

METHODS: The EPIC Norfolk Eye study is nested in a larger prospective cohort study. Data on cardiovascular risk factors were collected at baseline (1993-1997) and follow up (2006-2011) via clinical examination, validated lifestyle questionnaires and serum blood samples. AMD was ascertained using standardised grading of fundus photographs at the follow up. Logistic regression was used to examine associations between baseline and follow up risk factors with AMD.

RESULTS: 5,344 pairs (62.0% of total 8623) of fundus photographs were of sufficient quality for grading of AMD in participants with mean age of 67.4 years old (range 44-91) at diagnosis. There were 28 cases of late AMD (0.5%, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.3-0.8%) and 645 cases of early AMD (12.1%, 95%CI=11.2-13.0.%). In multivariable analysis, older people with higher levels of baseline high density lipoprotein- cholesterol (HDL-C ) and C-reactive protein (CRP) were more likely to have any signs of AMD, after adjusting for sex, education, smoking, and systolic blood pressure. In cross sectional analysis, only older age and higher HDL were significantly associated with AMD.

CONCLUSIONS: We have found that older age and higher levels of CRP and HDL-C were associated with increased odds of AMD in this population in the longitudinal analysis, but older age and HDL-C, not CRP was significantly associated with AMD in the cross sectional analysis. The prevalence of AMD in this cohort was low compared to other cohorts in Europe, the US and Australia, and probably reflects the some selection biases in follow up participation as well as the low rate of smoking among our healthy participants.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0132565
JournalPloS one
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • England
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Macular Degeneration
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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