Background Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) shares many similarities with cardiovascular disease (CVD) pathophysiology. We sought to determine the relationship of AMD to the progression of coronary artery calcium (CAC) using data from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Methods Our cohort consisted of 5803 adults aged 45 to 84 years free of known cardiovascular disease (CVD). Retinal photographs were taken during visit 2 (Aug 2002-Jan 2004). CAC was measured with computed tomography at visit 1 (July 2000-Aug 2002) and visit 5 (April 2010-Dec 2011) and changes between visits were determined. Results Participants were categorized as with (n = 244) and without AMD (n = 5559) at visit 2. At visit 5, 92 participants with and 2684 without AMD had CAC scores. Among those with detectable CAC at baseline (>0 at visit 1), CAC progression was greater in persons with compared to those without AMD after multivariable adjustment (530 ± 537 vs. 339 ± 426 Agatston units, P<0.01). Conclusions The presence of AMD in a diverse population without known clinical CVD independently predicted higher 10-year CAC progression in participants with baseline CAC >0. The retinal exam might be a useful tool for pre-clinical assessment and prevention of CVD events.
Fernandez, A. B., Ballard, K. D., Wong, T. Y., Guo, M., McClelland, R. L., Burke, G., … Klein, R. (2018). Age-related macular degeneration and progression of coronary artery calcium: The multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis. PLoS ONE, 13(7). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0201000