A Korean study recently determined that patients with AMD are at a higher risk for the Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, even among those with healthy lifestyle behaviors. The data comes as a warning for eye care providers, considering the increase in life expectancy worldwide will likely increase the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease to increase as well.

Using information from the national health insurance service, the researchers analyzed the data from 308,340 participants aged 50 years or older.

Using adjusted hazard ratios, they found that AMD patients had higher risk for Alzheimer’s (1.48) and Parkinson’s (1.46) than those without AMD. Even among patients who never smoked, drank alcohol and exercised regularly, AMD patients were still at higher risk for the two diseases.

The study concluded that doctors should closely monitor patients with AMD for possible early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Choi S, Jahng WJ, Park SM, Jee D. Association of age-related macular degeneration on Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease: a retrospective cohort study. Am J Ophthalmol. November 9, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].