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    Cholesterol and AMD

    Further research needed on the role lipids may play in the early stages of disease.

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    High HDL cholesterol may increase risk of AMD

    Recent research published in the journal of Ophthalmology suggests that HDL cholesterol (‘good cholesterol’) may be associated with increased risk of AMD and that triglycerides may be associated with a lower risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).  

    Researchers analysed data from 30,953 individuals aged 50 years or older who participated in two European studies: European Eye Epidemiology (E3) Consortium and the Rotterdam study.

    The research showed that both HDL cholesterol and triglycerides showed the strongest association with drusen (yellow spots) and early AMD. The report indicates that accumulation of drusen resembles the formation of atherosclerotic plaques seen in cardiovascular disease, with a similar composition of lipids and proteins.

    It was found that higher levels of circulating HDL cholesterol raised the odds of larger drusen, whereas higher levels of triglycerides decreased the odds. Higher levels of LDL cholesterol (‘bad cholesterol’) were only statistically significant in the association with early AMD.

    The research demonstrates the role lipids may play in the early stage of the disease, however too many conclusions cannot be drawn as further research is needed to identify whether systemic lipids directly influence AMD or represent lipid metabolism in the retina.


    HDL cholesterol associated with AMD risk published 1 Nov 2018

    High HDL cholesterol increases risk of macular degeneration published 12 Jan 2019

    Journal article:

    Colijn JM et al. Ophthalmology. 2018 Oct 10. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2018.09.045.

    Posted: 24 January 2019