Causes of Macular Degeneration

The causes of macular degeneration remain unknown till date. The only known fact is that it is age related and results from the breakdown of cells that make up the macula.

Some of the factors leading to an increased risk of developing macular degeneration are:

  • Age: The risk of developing macular degeneration increases with age, with people over the age of 60 years being most commonly affected by it.
  • Family History: The odds of developing macular degeneration are higher if there is a history of it in the person’s family.
  • Race: Caucasians and other white races are more prone to developing macular degeneration.
  • Gender: Women are more likely to develop macular degeneration than are men.
  • Tobacco: Smoking or chewing tobacco increases the risk of macular degeneration.
  • Obesity: Obese people have a higher likelihood of developing a severe form of macular degeneration.
  • Diet: A diet consisting of low intake of fruits and vegetables increases the risk of developing macular degeneration.
  • Hypertension & Heart Disease: People with hypertension have a higher chance of developing macular degeneration as do people with heart disease.
  • High Cholesterol: This too increases the risk of macular degeneration.
  • Fibulin-5 Mutation: Studies have shown that mutations in Fibulin-5 can cause rare forms of the macular degeneration.
Dry macular degeneration can on rare occasion, progress to the more severe form known as wet macular degeneration. This results in rapid loss of vision. There is however, no accurate way to predict if and when this progression will occur. 
Frequently asked questions
  1. Albert H. Soloway, Robert W. Curley Jr., Scott M. Soloway, Macular degeneration: A possible biochemical mechanism, Medical Hypotheses, Volume 76, Issue 5, May 2011, Pages 729-732, ISSN 0306-9877, 10.1016/j.mehy.2011.02.009.
  2. Pradeep S. Prasad, Steven D. Schwartz, Jean-Pierre Hubschman, Age-related macular degeneration: Current and novel therapies, Maturitas, Volume 66, Issue 1, May 2010, Pages 46-50, ISSN 0378-5122, 10.1016/j.maturitas.2010.02.006.
  3. Thomas J.W. Stokkermans, Treatment of age-related macular degeneration, Clinical Eye and Vision Care, Volume 12, Issues 1–2, 1 March 2000, Pages 15-35, ISSN 0953-4431, 10.1016/S0953-4431(99)00043-0.