The Prevalence of Age-Related Macular Degeneration in Alzheimer's Disease

Michael A Williams, Vittorio Silvestri, David Craig, A Peter Passmore, Giuliana Silvestri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) share several features, including the presence of extracellular abnormal deposits associated with neuronal degeneration, drusen, and plaques, respectively. Investigation of any association of AMD and specifically AD is worthwhile but has rarely been done.
The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of AMD in subjects with AD in comparison with an age-matched cognitively normal cohort.
Cases were defined as those diagnosed with AD using standardized criteria as part of their clinical care, while controls were cognitively intact individuals aged 65 years or more. Dilated retinal photographs were taken, and a range of potentially confounding factors measured including APOE genotype. AMD features were recorded and AMD grades given.
Data was collected on 322 controls and 258 cases. While AMD was associated with AD, and the proportion of cases of advanced AMD in AD cases was twice that of controls, when corrected the association was lost. AD was associated with age, the presence of an APOE allele, and smoking, while being 'generally unwell recently' was associated with a reduced risk of AD.
AD and AMD are both associated with age, but our study does not find evidence they are associated with each other. However the retina offers an opportunity to non-invasively image neuronal tissue, and more sophisticated imaging techniques may shed light on ocular biomarkers of AD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)909-914
Number of pages6
JournalJAD: Journal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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