Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Cardiovascular Disease

2019-09-18 03:27:51 | BioPortfolio


The purpose of this research study is to investigate the link between age-related macular degeneration (AMD or ARMD) and coronary artery disease (CAD). Age-related macular degeneration is a medical condition which may result in blurred or no vision in the center of vision. Coronary artery disease is a blockage of one or more arteries that supply blood to the heart. The study will specifically look at the macular changes that occur in the retina, which is the sensory membrane that lines the inner surface at the back of the eyeball, and the relationship between coronary heart disease and the risk factors.


The treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in the developed world, is undergoing a revolution. Intraocular injections of medications that can shut down the rapidly destructive "wet" form of the disease have changed this form to a chronic illness. However, vision is still lost. For the early forms of AMD, progression to the advanced "wet" and "dry" forms and severe vision loss is impeded but not stopped by current therapies of oral antioxidants. Thus, a better understanding of early AMD is needed to discover its root causes and provide treatment before irreparable damage is done.

The most important, highest-risk, and least understood form of early AMD is "reticular macular disease" (RMD). RMD is associated with significant progression to advanced AMD, both wet and dry. The lesions of RMD are well seen on the advanced retinal imaging techniques of spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) and scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (SLO). On SLO, RMD presents a pox-like pattern of dark defects SD-OCT provides high-resolution cross-sectional images of the retina, where RMD is seen as a collection of cholesterol-containing deposits, and the choroid, an essential blood supply of the retina, which is thinned and may be damaged in RMD. A unified explanation of these facets of RMD is lacking.

Regarding AMD and systemic diseases, the association between stroke, heart attack and AMD has been studied, but with some conflicting findings. For example, a relationship with heart attack has been established in patients less than age 75, but not in older patients. Where does RMD fit in? At present, no one knows. However, the known facts are these: RMD is associated with decreased longevity, which is not the case with other early forms of AMD. This could happen if RMD and systemic vascular disease co-exist. Finally, there is the very high proportion of women relative to men among older patients with RMD, about 85%. Women develop heart disease later than men and survive heart disease a decade longer on average. It is possible that these diseases both begin earlier in life, with more men dying before reaching older ages and demonstrating RMD. The research team submitting this proposal has preliminary data suggesting that this is in fact the case.

In a small group of subjects 50-75 years old, RMD was detected in a significant proportion of those with CAD compared to those without. Furthermore, in this younger group, the ratio of men to women in the RMD group was equal. The team proposes a large-scale initiative to provide definitive answers to these questions, in collaboration with expert cardiologists and neurologists to document vascular status unequivocally, and utilizing the most advanced retinal imaging available for the detection of RMD. This could lead to greater understanding of all three, stroke, heart attack and AMD, and ultimately better treatment, providing much needed relief to suffering patients and relief to the healthcare burden of an aging population.

Study Design


Age-related Macular Degeneration


Blood draw


New York Eye and Ear Infirmary
New York
New York
United States




The New York Eye & Ear Infirmary

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2019-09-18T03:27:51-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

A form of MACULAR DEGENERATION also known as dry macular degeneration marked by occurrence of a well-defined progressive lesion or atrophy in the central part of the RETINA called the MACULA LUTEA. It is distinguishable from WET MACULAR DEGENERATION in that the latter involves neovascular exudates.

Specialized ophthalmic technique used in the surgical repair and or treatment of disorders that include retinal tears or detachment; MACULAR HOLES; hereditary retinal disease; AIDS-related retinal infections; ocular tumors; MACULAR DEGENERATION; DIABETIC RETINOPATHY; and UVEITIS.

A retrogressive pathological change in the retina, focal or generalized, caused by genetic defects, inflammation, trauma, vascular disease, or aging. Degeneration affecting predominantly the macula lutea of the retina is MACULAR DEGENERATION. (Newell, Ophthalmology: Principles and Concepts, 7th ed, p304)

A recombinant humanized monoclonal antibody fragment that binds VEGF-A to prevent its binding to VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-2 receptors. This activity reduces vessel permeability and angiogenesis in the treatment of neovascular age-related MACULAR DEGENERATION.

A form of RETINAL DEGENERATION in which abnormal CHOROIDAL NEOVASCULARIZATION occurs under the RETINA and MACULA LUTEA, causing bleeding and leaking of fluid. This leads to bulging and or lifting of the macula and the distortion or destruction of central vision.

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