To describe the relationship between type and level of fat in the diet and the prevalence of age-related maculopathy.
Retrospective population-based study.
Setting and Participants:
Residents of Beaver Dam, Wis, between the ages of 45 and 84 years, participating in the Beaver Dam Eye Study and Nutritional Factors in Eye Disease Study.
Presence and severity of age-related maculopathy were determined from masked grading of fundus photographs taken from 1988 through 1990. Diets in the past (1978 through 1980) were assessed retrospectively using a food frequency questionnaire during in-person home interviews.
Persons with intake of saturated fat and cholesterol in the highest compared with the lowest quintile had 80% and 60% increased odds for early age-related maculopathy, respectively, after adjusting for age and intake of beer. These relationships were not influenced by adjusting for several other potential confounding variables (carotenoid intake, intake of vitamins C or E in supplements, smoking, body mass index, time spent outdoors in the summer, gender, and history of diabetes, hypertension, or cardiovascular disease). Odds ratios for late age-related maculopathy were in similar directions but were not statistically significant.
High intake of saturated fat and cholesterol is associated with increased risk for early age-related maculopathy in the Beaver Dam population. This supports the hypothesis that atherosclerosis or its risk factors are related to age-related maculopathy. Confirmation of this finding in other populations and in prospective studies is needed.