Background: Evidence continues to accumulate that oxidative stress is etiologically important in the pathogenesis of age-related maculopathy (ARM) and that appropriate antioxidants of dietary origin may protect against this condition.
Objective: Risk factors for ARM may be classed as established or putative. We report a study designed to investigate whether such risk factors are associated with a dietary lack of antioxidants relevant to retinal health.
Design: Dietary, anthropometric, and sociodemographic details relating to 828 healthy Irish subjects aged 20-60 y were recorded in a cross-sectional fashion and analyzed for associations between risk factors for ARM and dietary intake of relevant nutrients.
Results: Of the established risk factors for ARM, increasing age was associated with a relative lack of dietary zeaxanthin (P < 0.05) and tobacco use with a relative lack of dietary vitamin C (P < 0.05). Of the putative risk factors for ARM, alcohol consumption was associated with a relative lack of dietary alpha-linoleic acid (P < 0.05), and female sex was associated with a relative lack of dietary zinc (P < 0.05).
Conclusions: We showed that several variables related to risk for ARM are associated with a relative dietary lack of key nutrients. Our finding that age, the most important and universal risk factor for ARM, is associated with a relative lack of dietary zeaxanthin, is an important finding that warrants further investigation.