Cardiovascular disease, its risk factors and treatment, and age-related macular degeneration: Women's Health Initiative Sight Exam ancillary study

Am J Ophthalmol. 2007 Mar;143(3):473-83. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2006.11.058. Epub 2007 Jan 10.


Purpose: To examine the association of cardiovascular disease (CVD), CVD risk factors, and CVD treatment with age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Design: Observational analysis of a randomized clinical trial.

Settings: The Women's Health Initiative Sight Examination (WHISE), an ancillary study to the Women's Health Initiative's clinical trial of hormone replacement therapy.

Study population: A total of 4,288 women age 63 years and older.

Observation procedures: Information on CVD and its risk factors were obtained from a standardized questionnaire and examination.

Main outcome measure: AMD as determined by standardized grading of fundus photographs.

Results: Prevalence of any AMD was 21.4% (n = 919). Of those with AMD, 5.8% (n = 53) had signs of exudative AMD (n = 39) or pure geographic atrophy (n = 14), limiting the power to examine associations. Significant associations between late AMD and CVD risk factors were (odds ratio [OR], 95% confidence interval [CI]) older age (1.19, 1.13 to 1.27, P < .0001), more pack years smoked (1.02 per pack-year smoked, 1.003 to 1.03, P = .01), systolic blood pressure (0.84 per 10 mm Hg, 0.71 to 0.995, P = .04), report of taking calcium channel blockers (2.49, 1.21 to 5.12, P = .04), self-reported history of diabetes (2.00, 1.01 to 3.96, P = .05), and greater body mass index (1.05 per 1 kg/m, 1.001 to 1.10, P = .05). History of myocardial infarction, stroke, use of statins, or white blood cell count was not associated with AMD.

Conclusions: Results suggest that smoking, use of calcium channel blockers, diabetes, and obesity are risk factors for late AMD in women. However, the association of late AMD with systolic blood pressure and the effects of other CVD risk factors on early AMD need to be further explored.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / adverse effects
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Complications
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration / etiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Women's Health*


  • Calcium Channel Blockers