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Blood Pressure Drugs Linked to Increased Risk of AMD

Destiny Baker2 years ago

A 20-year study has found that patients using vasodilators to control blood pressure are at an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.

Details of the Vasodilator Study

In 1988, Ronald Klein, MD, MPH, with the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, and his colleagues began a population-based longitudinal study of residents of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.

Labeled the Beaver Dam Eye Study, residents had eye examinations every five years. Of the 4,926 participants who enrolled, 1,913 remained in the study for a 20-year follow-up.

An analysis of the data gathered suggests that participants who took vasodilators were 72 percent more likely to develop early AMD. The risk was higher, at 81 percent, among participants using nitroglycerin.

The study also determined that individuals taking oral beta blockers were 71 percent mare likely to develop exudative AMD.

What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss in people ages 50 and older.

The condition causes damage to the macula, a small spot neart the center of the retina, which is essential for clear, central vision.

Though AMD does not lead to complete blindness by itself, it can hamper every day activities, including driving, reading, writing and cooking.


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