Moderate wine consumption is associated with decreased odds of developing age-related macular degeneration in NHANES-1

J Am Geriatr Soc. 1998 Jan;46(1):1-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.1998.tb01005.x.


Objective: To determine the association between alcohol intake and the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Design: Case control study.

Participants: The sample consisted of 3072 adults 45 to 74 years of age with macular changes indicative of AMD who participated in a nationally representative sample of the first National Health Nutrition and Examination Survey (NHANES-1) between 1971 and 1975: (a) the ophthalmology data set and (b) the medical history questionnaire.

Main outcome measures: Alcohol intake and the risk of developing AMD were measured. AMD was determined by staff at the National Eye Institute by fundoscopy examination using standardized protocol.

Results: Overall, 184 individuals (6%) had AMD. We observed a statistically significant but negative association between AMD and the type of alcohol consumed in a bivariate model (OR 0.86; 95% CI 0.73, 0.99). In the same model, age maintained a consistently strong association with AMD (OR 1.08; 95% CI 1.06-1.11; P < .001). Among the different types of alcohol consumed in NHANES-1 (beer, wine, and liquor), the effect of wine, either alone (OR 0.66; 95% CI 0.55-0.79) or in combination with beer (OR 0.66; 95% CI 0.55-0.79) or liquor (OR 0.74; 95% CI 0.63-0.86), dominated the negative association observed between AMD and alcohol type. Additionally, a statistically significant and negative association between wine and AMD was noted after adjusting for the effect of age, gender, income, history of congestive heart failure, and hypertension (OR 0.81; 95% CI 0.67-0.99).

Conclusion: Moderate wine consumption is associated with decreased odds of developing AMD. Health promotion and disease prevention activities directed at cardiovascular disease may help reduce the rate of AMD-associated blindness among older people. The nature and pathophysiology of this association warrant further investigation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcoholic Beverages / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Macular Degeneration / epidemiology*
  • Macular Degeneration / prevention & control
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Wine*