This study investigated signs of age related macular degeneration (AMD) in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). These age-related diseases primarily affect different parts of the central nervous system but are substantially similar in terms of abnormal extracellular deposits, metabolic and oxidative stress, neuroinflammation and microvascular abnormalities. While AMD is a retinal disease, AD is reported to affect not only the brain but also the retina, with Aβ deposits, neurodegeneration and vascular changes. Large population based studies have provided conflicting results regarding the comorbidity of AD and AMD. This study investigated signs of AMD in a small but well characterized cohort from the Australian Imaging Biomarkers and Lifestyle study of aging (AIBL). The cohort consisted of 22 AD patients (age 70.2 ± 9.0 yrs, 13 male, 9 female) and 101 cognitively normal (CN) participants (age 71.3 ± 6.0 yrs, 40 male, 61 female). In comparison with the CN group, the AD group had a greater proportion of participants with early AMD (p < 0.0001, odds ratio 18.67, 95% CI 4.42 – 78.80). A logistic model for early AMD found a significant association with AD diagnosis (p < 0.0001), after adjusting for confounders (age, smoking, hypertension, high and low density lipoproteins, cataract surgery and APOE ε4 carrier status). The results of this study are consistent with an increased risk of AMD in AD. While the pathophysiology of these diseases are unclear, understanding the shared features between them may provide further knowledge about their pathogenesis and could lead to accelerated development of therapies for both diseases.
- Vision disorders