HealthDay News — Genetically predicted smoking initiation and lifetime smoking are associated with elevated risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD), while genetically predicted alcohol intake is associated with increased risk of geographic atrophy, according to a study published online Nov. 4 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Valerie Kuan, Ph.D., from University College London, and colleagues assessed whether smoking, alcohol consumption, blood pressure, body mass index, and glycemic traits are associated with increased risk of advanced AMD. Analysis included data from 16,144 individuals with AMD and 17,832 controls.

The researchers found that a one-standard deviation (SD) increase in logodds of genetically predicted smoking initiation was associated with higher risk of advanced AMD (odds ratio, 1.26), while a one-SD increase in logodds of genetically predicted smoking cessation was associated with lower risk of advanced AMD (odds ratio, 0.66). Similarly, genetically predicted increased lifetime smoking was associated with increased risk of advanced AMD (odds ratio, 1.32). There was an association seen between genetically predicted alcohol consumption and higher risk of geographic atrophy (odds ratio, 2.70). There was insufficient evidence to associate genetically predicted blood pressure, body mass index, and glycemic traits with advanced AMD.


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“To reduce the prevalence of advanced AMD in aging populations, public health campaigns and programs to support smoking abstention, smoking cessation, and reduced alcohol intake should incorporate the evidence that these activities can lead to blindness,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, and medical technology industries.

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