Macular Degeneration and Obesity

Research conducted at the Harvard Medical School has revealed that age-related macular degeneration could be made worst by being obesity. Patients suffering from the degenerative eye disease may find that the progression of the disease is caused in part by their current weight.

Macular degeneration attacks the retina, causing a loss of central vision in those patients suffering from the disease. Research has previously shown that there have been many factors that contribute to the progression of macular degeneration including smoking, a high-fat diet and low levels of certain antioxidants. However, researchers wanted to test a theory that reduced blood flow back to the retina was one of the causes for age-related macular degeneration. In designing their research, the Harvard Medical School researchers examined factors that could influence a higher occurrence of blocked arteries such as obesity and lack of exercise.

The study followed 261 patients who were diagnosed with early stages of macular degeneration and continued for a period of four years. Throughout the study, these patients were monitored for their weight, height, blood pressure, hip and waist measurements. This led the researchers to conclude that patients suffering from macular degeneration who were overweight (or obese), had their AMD advance from early stages to full macular degeneration by the end of the study. The research concluded that a larger waist-to-hip ratio was also associated with an increased risk of macular degeneration progression.

Those patients who exercised vigorously and at least three times a week were shown to be 25% less likely to have their eye-disease to develop into full blown macular degeneration at the end of the study.