Patients diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) may be at an increased risk of hospital admission, according to new research presented at last week’s ARVO meeting in Vancouver.1 Recent research has already linked AMD with a number of comorbidities, including skin malignancies and dementia and Alzheimer’s, highlighting the challenges these patients may already be facing.2,3 An increased risk of a hospital stay further demonstrates the increased burden these patients carry for health complications that can significantly impact their well-being.

Researchers in California conducted this latest cross-sectional study using Medicare claims databases to identify the 6.8% of 2,574,641 Medicare beneficiaries who had an AMD diagnosis. All patients were aged 65 or older and a resident of California. Of those with AMD, 4.8% had dry AMD and 1.9% had wet AMD. Before adjusting for age, sex and race/ethnicity, the researchers found those with AMD were 1.38 times more likely than non-AMD patients to have at least one hospital admission claim in the study year of 2015. The adjusted odds ratio was 1.04—and both dry and wet AMD patients had an increased risk of hospital admissions.1

“This is an important association to further investigate in order to reduce mortality and overall hospital cost,” the researchers concluded in their abstract.1

1. Ochoa III A, Yu F, Tseng V, et al. The association between late age-related macular

degeneration and hospital admission in the California Medicare database. ARVO 2019. Abstract 64 - A0138.

2. Shah SM, Starr MR, Dalvin LA, et al. Increased incidence of cutaneous keratinocytic and melanocytic malignancies in patients with age-related macular degeneration. Retina. April 3, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].

3. Rong SS, Lee BY, Kuk AK, et al. Comorbidity of dementia and age-related macular degeneration calls for clinical awareness: a meta-analysis. Br J Ophthalmol. April 18, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].