Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Richard Rothernberg MD; MPH

Second Advisor

Jinan Saddine MD; MPH

Third Advisor

Dora ll'yasova Ph.D



IMPORTANCE: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of low vision in elderly population. The association of vascular and renal conditions has been reported inconsistently. Unfolding the association may provide the insight to eye care providers to take account general health management into eye care.

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the prevalence of the vascular and renal comorbidities with AMD, examine the association of a single or combination of these comorbidities with AMD.

DSIGN AND PARTICIPANTS: Population-base cross-sectional study involved the adults aged 40 years or older (N=4596) who participated in the 2005 to 2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a national representative population-based survey of non-institutionalized US residents.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: AMD was defined by the presence of drusen and presence of pigmental abnormality. Angina pectoris (AP), coronary heart disease (CHD), congestive heart failure (CHF) and myocardial infarction (MI), and stroke, assessed by self-report by the questionnaire of medical conditions, Chronic kidney disease (CKD), assessed by self-report and estimation of glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and the level of urine albumin. Heart disease (HD) was defined as having AP or CHF or CHD or MI.

RESULTS: Among individuals with AMD, 6% had AP, 10% had CHD, 7% had CHF, 10% had MI, 13% had stroke, and 29% had CKD. The weighted prevalence of these conditions were significantly higher than those without AMD (All P-values

CONCLUSION AND RELEVANCE: These findings from the nationally-representative sample of the US population highlight the prevalence of vascular and renal comorbidities associated with AMD, the modest evidence of relationship of each single comorbidity, and strong association of combination of stroke and CKD to AMD independent of age, gender, and other factors. Because of the cross-sectional design, the results of this study can not address a causal relationship between AMD and the examined comorbidities. It is unclear whether AMD and comorbidities arise from individual predisposition to vascular and renal diseases or whether complications from these morbidities increase the risk of AMD. However, the important caveat is that preventive and care management for the examined comorbidities may lessen the severity of symptoms or prevent AMD.