The association of smoking and alcohol use with age-related macular degeneration in the oldest old: the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures

Am J Ophthalmol. 2010 Jan;149(1):160-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2009.07.025. Epub 2009 Oct 1.


Purpose: To estimate the incidence of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and the association of smoking and alcohol in a population of older women.

Design: Prospective cohort study.

Methods: Subjects were women who attended the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures year-10 and year-15 follow-up clinic visits and had fundus photographs taken at both visits (n = 1958; 245 Black and 1713 White subjects; mean age at year 10 visit, 78.2 years). Forty-five degree stereoscopic fundus photographs were graded for AMD. Logistic regression was used to test whether risk factors were associated with incident AMD.

Results: The overall 5-year AMD incidence was 24.1% (95% confidence interval [CI], 21.7 to 26.6) for early and 5.7% (95% CI, 4.6 to 6.8) for late. Early AMD incidence in White subjects ranged from 21.9% in those aged 74 to 79 years to 33.2% in those 80 to 84 years, but was observed at the slightly lower rate of 29.0% in subjects > or =85 years (trend P < .0001). After confounder adjustment, alcohol consumption was significantly associated with an elevated risk of incident early AMD (odds ratio [OR], 1.57; 95% CI, 1.18 to 2.11). There was an increased risk of early AMD among subjects aged 80 years or older who were smoking compared to those younger than 80 years who were not smoking (OR, 5.49; 95% CI, 1.57 to 19.20; P for interaction = .026).

Conclusions: The magnitude of the greater-than-additive effect of smoking on the age-adjusted risk of AMD reinforces recommendations to quit smoking even for older individuals.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • African Continental Ancestry Group
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Female
  • Fractures, Spontaneous / etiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Macular Degeneration / epidemiology
  • Macular Degeneration / etiology*
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / complications
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Women's Health