Frailty and age-related macular degeneration: the Beaver Dam Eye Study

Am J Ophthalmol. 2005 Jul;140(1):129-31. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2004.12.049.


Purpose: To investigate the associations of measures of frailty to prevalent age-related maculopathy (ARM).

Design: Cross-sectional population-based study.

Methods: Time to walk a measured course (gait-time), handgrip strength, peak expiratory flow rate, ability to stand from a sitting position without using arms, self-reported co-morbidities, and ARM were assessed at the third examination of the Beaver Dam Eye Study (n = 2,962). ARM was determined by grading stereoscopic color fundus photographs.

Results: While controlling for age, smoking, and the number of co-morbid conditions, weaker handgrip strength was associated with early ARM (odds ratio [OR]/10 kg decrease 1.28, confidence interval [CI] 1.08, 1.52, P = .004) and late ARM (OR 1.55, 95% CI 1.02, 2.36) in men but not women. Other measures of frailty were not related to ARM.

Conclusions: A weak cross-sectional association of handgrip strength with ARM (in men) was found after controlling for co-morbid conditions. These data suggest that ARM is due to a specific disease process, albeit age-related, rather than to biologic aging, as reflected by measures of frailty.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Frail Elderly*
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration / epidemiology*
  • Macular Degeneration / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Sex Factors
  • Wisconsin / epidemiology