Alcohol use and age-related maculopathy in the Beaver Dam Eye Study

Am J Ophthalmol. 1995 Aug;120(2):190-6. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(14)72607-8.


Purpose: Because there are few epidemiologic data examining the relationship between alcohol use and age-related maculopathy, we investigated this relationship via the population-based Beaver Dam Eye Study.

Methods: Alcohol consumption in the year before examination was determined by a standardized questionnaire. Age-related maculopathy status was determined by grading stereoscopic color fundus photographs.

Results: While controlling for other factors, consumption of beer in the past year was related to greater odds of increased retinal pigment degeneration (odds ratio, 1.13; 95% confidence interval, 1.02, 1.25) and exudative macular degeneration (odds ratio, 1.41; 95% confidence interval, 1.05, 1.88). Current consumption of neither wine nor liquor was related to early or late age-related maculopathy.

Conclusions: These data suggest a relationship between beer consumption and greater odds of having exudative macular degeneration. Whether this is from a toxic effect specific to beer or from other unknown confounders cannot be determined.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Beer / adverse effects
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Fundus Oculi
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Macular Degeneration / epidemiology*
  • Macular Degeneration / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Retinal Degeneration / epidemiology*
  • Retinal Degeneration / etiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Wine / adverse effects
  • Wisconsin / epidemiology