Older, but not blinder

Saturday, 25 November, 2017

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Warnings of a boom in age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of severe vision loss in older Aussies, are appearing to evaporate before our eyes.

A study in the US has found that the risk of AMD has dropped drastically between generations, with a 60% drop between baby boomers and their predecessors, and a further 60% drop between baby boomers and generation X-ers. The researchers say their results suggest the current epidemic of AMD in ageing Western populations may wane over time.

Researchers at University of Wisconsin-Madison undertook the observational study, reviewing 4819 participants from studies that examined residents of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, who were between the ages of 43 to 84 in 1987 and 1988 and their adult children who were aged 21 to 84 in 2005 through 2008. The participants were at risk for developing AMD based on eye images obtained when they entered the studies.

Researchers concluded that the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration is much less in the baby boom (1946–1964) and later generations than in earlier generations; however, follow-up research would be required to determine the reasons for this decline.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Scott Griessel

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