Recent research has been conducted in Melbourne to evaluate associations between past alcohol consumptions and the prevalence of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Dr Elaine Chong from the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital studied the diet and eye health of almost 7000 people over a period of time to try to determine the contribution of alcohol.
Multiple studies have been conducted in this area with varying results. Further research is required to identify whether heavy drinking is associated with the onset of macular degeneration. The level of alcohol intake consumed by participants in the study is above the maximum recommended level, which is 40g per day, or 4 standard drinks for men and 20g per day or 2 standard drinks for women*. There are many other health reasons why people should not be consuming this much alcohol, apart from MD.
Dr Chong’s research found that higher levels of alcohol, more than four standard drinks a day, was associated with an increase in macular degeneration in men. Dr Chong said the same link was not seen in women, possibly because they were less likely to drink heavily. Also, the effect appears to be predominantly in males who drink beer, rather than necessarily related to all forms of alcohol. The reason for this is unclear. Quantities of wine and spirits drunk were too low to evaluate their risk.
Dr Chong is quoted in the Brisbane Courier Mail saying that "It might be that heavy drinkers were also more likely to smoke, which is a well-identified disease risk".
*Source - www.nutritionaustralia.org
12 December 2008