Associations between recent and established ophthalmic conditions and risk of Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimers Dement. 2019 Jan;15(1):34-41. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2018.06.2856. Epub 2018 Aug 8.


Introduction: Identifying ophthalmic diseases associated with increased risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD) may enable better screening and understanding of those at risk of AD.

Methods: Diagnoses of glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and diabetic retinopathy (DR) were based on International Classification of Diseases, 9th revision, codes for 3877 participants from the Adult Changes in Thought study. The adjusted hazard ratio for developing probable or possible AD for recent (within 5 years) and established (>5 years) diagnoses were assessed.

Results: Over 31,142 person-years of follow-up, 792 AD cases occurred. The recent and established hazard ratio were 1.46 (P = .01) and 0.87 (P = .19) for glaucoma, 1.20 (P = .12) and 1.50 (P < .001) for AMD, and 1.50 (P = .045) and 1.50 (P = .03) for DR.

Discussion: Increased AD risk was found for recent glaucoma diagnoses, established AMD diagnoses, and both recent and established DR. People with certain ophthalmic conditions may have increased AD risk.

Keywords: Adult Changes in Thought (ACT); Age-related macular degeneration; Alzheimer's disease; Cataract; Diabetic retinopathy; Glaucoma; Ophthalmology.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / epidemiology*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Glaucoma / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors