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Demographic and Dietary Characteristics of the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) Participants and Their Associations With Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)


Conference Paper

Chang, J.; Clemons, T.; Sangiovanni, J.; Agron, E.; Chew, E.

Annual Meeting, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO)

Fort Lauderdale, FL

URL: ;

Purpose: To describe demographic and dietary characteristics of Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) participants at baseline and investigate associations between these characteristics and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) severity. Methods: Graders from the AREDS2 reading center evaluated baseline fundus photographs with a standardized protocol, using drusen and pigment characteristics to assign the AREDS 5-level simple scale score of AMD severity. Participants completed the Harvard Dietary Assessment (HDA) at baseline, and nutrient density values (daily nutrient intake/total energy intake) for lutein/zeaxanthin (L/Z), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) were classified into quintiles. A subset of participants had blood drawn at baseline for the Nutritional Biochemistry Substudy (NBS). Associations among characteristics were assessed using age- and gender-adjusted generalized linear models. Results: 4203 participants were enrolled in AREDS2. At baseline, mean age was 73 years (range: 50 - 80 years), 57% of all participants were women, 97% were white, and 65% had two study eyes. Mean visual acuity in study eyes was 79±11 letters (20/25). The distribution of simple scale score values (from least to most severe AMD) was: 0 or 1 - 2%, 2 - 15%, 3 - 26% and 4 - 57%. Dietary DHA/EPA was inversely related to AMD score in energy-adjusted comparisons of participants reporting highest versus lowest quintile intake (p<0.05 for both nutrients). Measures of association with L/Z were in the direction of benefit but did not attain statistical significance. Trend tests on quintile median nutrient values yielded the following p-values (DHA: <0.01; EPA: <0.01; L/Z: 0.15). Similar results were found for the 504 participants in the NBS. Conclusions: At baseline, AREDS2 participants had good visual function in their study eye(s) and the majority had risk factors for progression to advanced AMD. People reporting highest intake of DHA or EPA were less likely than their peers to have more severe AMD.

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