Progression of Age-Related Macular Degeneration Among Individuals Homozygous for Risk Alleles on Chromosome 1 (CFH-CFHR5) or Chromosome 10 (ARMS2/HTRA1) or Both

JAMA Ophthalmol. 2022 Mar 1;140(3):252-260. doi: 10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2021.6072.


Importance: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common cause of irreversible vision loss among individuals older than 50 years. Although considerable advances have been made in our understanding of AMD genetics, the differential effects of major associated loci on disease manifestation and progression may not be well characterized.

Objective: To elucidate the specific associations of the 2 most common genetic risk loci for AMD, the CFH-CFHR5 locus on chromosome 1q32 (Chr1) and the ARMS2/HTRA1 locus on chromosome 10q26 (Chr10)-independent of one another and in combination-with time to conversion to late-stage disease and to visual acuity loss.

Design, setting, and participants: This case series study included 502 individuals who were homozygous for risk variants at both Chr1 and Chr10 (termed Chr1&10-risk) or at either Chr1 (Chr1-risk) or Chr10 (Chr10-risk) and who had enrolled in Genetic and Molecular Studies of Eye Diseases at the Sharon Eccles Steele Center for Translational Medicine between September 2009 and March 2020. Multimodal imaging data were reviewed for AMD staging, including grading of incomplete and complete retinal pigment epithelium and outer retinal atrophy.

Main outcomes and measures: Hazard ratios and survival times for conversion to any late-stage AMD, atrophic or neovascular, and associated vision loss of 2 or more lines.

Results: In total, 317 participants in the Chr1-risk group (median [IQR] age at first visit, 75.6 [69.5-81.7] years; 193 women [60.9%]), 93 participants in the Chr10-risk group (median [IQR] age at first visit, 77.5 [72.2-84.2] years; 62 women [66.7%]), and 92 participants in the Chr1&10-risk group (median [IQR] age at first visit, 71.7 [68.0-76.3] years; 62 women [67.4%]) were included in the analyses. After adjusting for age and AMD grade at first visit, compared with 257 participants in the Chr1-risk group, 56 participants in the Chr1&10-risk group (factor of 3.3 [95% CI, 1.6-6.8]; P < .001) and 58 participants in the Chr10-risk group (factor of 2.6 [95% CI, 1.3-5.2]; P = .007) were more likely to convert to a late-stage phenotype during follow-up. This difference was mostly associated with conversion to macular neovascularization, which occurred earlier in participants with Chr1&10-risk and Chr10-risk. Eyes in the Chr1&10-risk group (median [IQR] survival, 5.7 [2.1-11.1] years) were 2.1 (95% CI, 1.1-3.9; P = .03) times as likely and eyes in the Chr10-risk group (median [IQR] survival, 6.3 [2.7-11.3] years) were 1.8 (95% CI, 1.0-3.1; P = .05) times as likely to experience a visual acuity loss of 2 or more lines compared with eyes of the Chr1-risk group (median [IQR] survival, 9.4 [4.1-* (asterisk indicates event rate did not reach 75%)] years).

Conclusions and relevance: These findings suggest differential associations of the 2 major AMD-related risk loci with structural and functional disease progression and suggest distinct underlying biological mechanisms associated with these 2 loci. These genotype-phenotype associations may warrant consideration when designing and interpreting AMD research studies and clinical trials.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 1 / genetics
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 10 / genetics
  • Complement Factor H* / genetics
  • Female
  • High-Temperature Requirement A Serine Peptidase 1 / genetics
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration* / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Risk Factors


  • ARMS2 protein, human
  • Proteins
  • Complement Factor H
  • High-Temperature Requirement A Serine Peptidase 1
  • HTRA1 protein, human