New research shows that patients with a specific form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are highly likely to develop underlying heart damage from heart failure and heart attacks, advanced heart valve disease, or carotid artery disease associated with certain types of strokes.
What form of AMD are we talking about?
The form with subretinal drusenoid deposits (SDDs). These deposits contain a different type of cholesterol and form above the retinal pigment epithelium.
Tell me about the research.
Researchers analyzed the eyes of 200 patients with AMD using retinal imaging to determine which patients had SDDs. Patients answered a questionnaire about their history of cardiovascular disease.
Of the 200 patients, 97 had SDDs and 103 had drusen only. Forty-seven of the 200 patients had severe heart disease, and 40 of the 47 (86%) had SDDs. By contrast, of the 153 patients with AMD who did not have severe cardiovascular diseases, 57 (43%) had SDDs. The researchers concluded that patients with AMD who had a history of severe cardiovascular disease and stroke were nine times more likely to have SDDs than those who did not.
The take home.
The authors state that, "detecting SDDs in the retina should trigger a referral to the individual’s primary care provider, especially if no previous cardiologist has been involved. It could prevent a life-threatening cardiac event.”
WHAT YOUR PATIENT MIGHT ASK YOU.
Could my AMD get worse after cataract surgery?
A new study says it might. A meta-analysis included eight cohort studies on cataract surgery in patients with AMD.
What did they find?
Although the relative risk of AMD progression shortly after cataract surgery was not significantly different, an increased risk was evident 5 years after surgery.
The study authors found that worsening of AMD progression after cataract surgery is most common in Asian patients and that the incidence of neovascular AMD within 5 years after cataract surgery was two to three times higher than that of nonsurgical patients. Darker iris color was another risk factor associated with worsening AMD progression following cataract surgery.