Macular Degeneration Risk Model Predicts Risk

Researchers have developed risk assessment model to help predict the development of age-related macular degeneration.

In a report published in the Archives of Ophthalmology researchers have indicated should be able to identify people with early forms of macular degeneration who are at the greatest risk of having the eye disease progress to the advanced form.

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness for those people over the age of 55 and results in a loss of central vision as the eye disease damages the retina.

It is hoped this new model can be used to determine preventative measures as well as early treatment options before the eye disease progresses to advanced macular degeneration.

The model considers factors related to observable physical characteristics, demographic, environmental and genetic risk factors known to contribute to macular degeneration.

Throughout the development of this model, two endpoints were identified.  The first was the development of advanced macular degeneration in either eye by participants who did not have the eye disease at baseline.  The second endpoint was advanced macular degeneration developing in the second eye in those participants with the condition at baseline.

The model considered variables such as large drusen deposits, smoking, family history and genetics.  Of those with no macular degeneration at baseline, 24 percent developed the advanced form of the eye disease.  Patients with the eye disease (dry macular degeneration or wet macular degeneration), 82 percent with the dry form of the disease developed an advance version of the disease.  Of those with wet macular degeneration, 56 percent developed the advanced form of the disease.

The development of this risk model for macular degeneration provides value in determining frequency of eye examinations.  As well, it could provide insight into preventative measures such as dietary controls, lifestyle changes and nutritional supplements.

Researchers have concluded this new risk assessment model provides substantial value in assessing the risk of macular degeneration.