Objective: The purpose of the study is to examine the association between cardiovascular disease and its risk factors and the incidence of age-related maculopathy.
Participants: A population of 3583 adults (range, 43-86 years of age at baseline) living in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, was studied at baseline and 5 years later.
Methods: Standardized protocols for physical examination, blood collection, administration of a questionnaire, and stereoscopic color fundus photography to determine age-related maculopathy were used. Standard univariate and multivariate analyses were performed.
Main outcome measures: Incidence and progression of age-related maculopathy were measured.
Results: After controlling for age and gender, the authors found both higher systolic blood pressure (odds ratio [OR] per 10 mmHg, 1.16; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.05, 1.27) and uncontrolled treated hypertension (OR 1.98, 95% CI 1.00, 3.94) were related to the incidence of retinal pigment epithelial depigmentation. After controlling for age and gender, the authors found that both blood pressure and uncontrolled treated hypertension were not significantly associated with an increased risk of having exudative macular degeneration develop (for systolic blood pressure, OR 1.18, 95% CI 0.95, 1.45; for uncontrolled treated hypertension, OR 2.10, 95% CI 0.54, 8.11). After controlling for age and gender, the authors found higher pulse pressure was significantly associated with increased incidence of retinal pigment epithelial depigmentation (OR per 10 mmHg 1.27, 95% CI 1.14, 1.42) and exudative macular degeneration (OR per 10 mmHg 1.29, 95% CI 1.02, 1.65). These relations remained significant after controlling for other risk factors in multivariable analyses.
Conclusions: These findings indicate modest relations between higher pulse pressure (a presumed indicator of atherosclerotic vascular disease) and uncontrolled hypertension with increased 5-year incidence of retinal pigment epithelial depigmentation. Overall, however, data from this study show neither consistent nor strong relations between cardiovascular disease and most of its risk factors with the incidence of lesions associated with age-related maculopathy.