Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease that damages the macula of the eye, resulting in blurry vision and vision loss in older adults (via National Eye Institute).
The disease develops slowly, and there are generally no early symptoms. Over time, vision may become blurry in the center of vision, and in late stages, blind spots may occur and colors may appear less vivid.
Cleveland Clinic reports that more than 10 million people in the United States have the disease, noting that it is the leading cause of vision loss in the country.
There isn’t a cure for age-related macular degeneration, but some supplements such as vitamin C, lutein, zinc, zeaxanthin, and beta carotene can slow the progression of it.
Other treatments that might slow growth of the disease are antivascular endothelial growth factor and photodynamic therapy. That said, new research shows that certain drugs may also lower the prevalence of the condition.
These medications might help doctors understand AMD
The study, published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, showed that antidiabetic medications and lipid-lowering drugs used to control cholesterol were linked with a lower prevalence of AMD in the general population.
Researchers gathered data from 38,694 adults involved in 14 studies conducted by the European Eye Epidemiology consortium.
Participants were over the age of 50 and were taking at least one drug to either lower their cholesterol or control diabetes.
Researchers found that those using drugs to control their diabetes had a 22% lower prevalence of AMD, while those taking medication to lower cholesterol had a 15% lower prevalence of the disease (via Healthline).
Authors of the study wrote, “Given a potential interference of these drugs with pathophysiological pathways relevant in AMD, this may contribute to a better understanding of AMD aetiology.”
They also said that more studies are needed to “confirm or refute these associations.” Dr. Benjamin Bert, an ophthalmologist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in California, told Healthline that this may point more toward the benefits of managing conditions like high cholesterol and diabetes on the rest of the body.
“In that case, the study indicates that appropriately treating high blood sugar and high cholesterol with medications helps reduce the metabolic consequences of those conditions in other parts of the body, in this case, the eyes,” he points out.