AMD a harbinger of heart attack?

A double penalty. According to a recent study conducted by the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai, patients with a specific form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are also very likely to have either heart damage due to heart failure and heart attacks. These findings were published in BMJ Open Ophthalmology.

For the first time, researchers are identifying the types of cardiovascular disease linked to the eye disorder. The conclusions of this study could encourage public authorities to set up increased vision screening.

“For the first time, we were able to link these specific high-risk cardiovascular diseases to a specific form of AMD, that with subretinal drusenoid deposits (SDD),” says lead author Theodore Smith, professor of ophthalmology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in a statement.

“This study is the first strong link between the leading cause of blindness, AMD, and heart disease, the leading cause of death worldwide. In addition, we also have strong evidence of what is really happening: the blood supply to the eye is directly diminished by these diseases, either by damage to the heart which decreases blood supply throughout the body, or by a clogged carotid artery that directly impedes blood flow to the eye”, underlines the scientist. Indeed, a poor blood supply can damage any part of the body.

Retinal degradation

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What is it about ? As Inserm explains, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) corresponds to a degradation of part of the retina (the macula), which can lead to loss of central vision. AMD never causes total blindness since the peripheral part of the retina remains intact. “This work demonstrates that ophthalmologists may be the first physicians to detect systemic disease, particularly in asymptomatic patients,” said co-investigator Richard B. Rosen, chief of Mount Health System’s retina service. Sinaï.

In France, AMD affects approximately 8% of the population but its frequency increases with age. If it affects 1% of people aged 50 to 55, the proportion rises to 10% of 65–75 year olds and reaches 25 to 30% of those over 75 years old.

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