Long-term exposure to air pollution could heighten AMD risk

Posted: Thursday 22 August 2019

Taiwanese researchers have highlighted an association between long-term exposure to air pollution from vehicle exhaust and an individual’s risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD). 

According to scientists those with the highest levels of exposure to vehicle exhaust had an almost doubled risk of developing AMD.

Researchers analysed national health insurance and air quality data in a group of 39,819 people aged 50 and above who lived in either ‘highly’ or ‘moderately’ urbanised areas. 

Between 1998 and 2010, a total of 1442 people within the study group developed the condition.  

Those with the highest levels of exposure to nitrogen dioxide were nearly twice (91%) as likely to develop AMD as those exposed to the lowest levels.

Those exposed to the highest level of carbon dioxide were 84% more likely to develop AMD than those who experienced the lowest levels. 

The highest rate of newly diagnosed AMD was among those living in an area with the highest carbon dioxide levels. 

Authors of the research said: "Our results indicate the highest quartile of each pollutant could increase the risk of AMD by almost twofold, while the moderate exposure did not contribute to AMD development.” 

Cathy Yelf from the Macular Society, said: "We already know there are a number of risk factors for developing AMD, such as smoking and diet and these results further highlight why investing in research to find a cure is so important."