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The effect of hormone therapy on the risk for age-related maculopathy in postmenopausal women

Abramov, Yoram MD1; Borik, Sharon MD1; Yahalom, Claudia MD2; Fatum, Muhammad MD1; Avgil, Gadiel MD2; Brzezinski, Amnon MD1; Banin, Eyal MD, PhD2

doi: 10.1097/01.GME.0000074701.19603.11

Objective To evaluate the effect of postmenopausal hormone therapy (HT) as well as the use of oral contraceptives and lifetime endogenous hormone exposure on the risk for age-related maculopathy (ARM) in postmenopausal women.

Design This was a cross-sectional, controlled study. A total of 102 women from 60 to 80 years of age who were receiving HT and 100 controls underwent a detailed clinical funduscopic evaluation and stereoscopic fundus photography for the presence and grading of ARM. All participants completed a standardized questionnaire regarding vascular risk factors, HT, and lifetime exogenous and endogenous estrogen and progesterone exposure. Statistical analysis was performed using Student's t test, χ2 test, and a multivariate logistic regression model.

Results The HT and the non-HT groups did not differ in terms of early (11% v 15%), late (6% v 6%), or wet (2% v 2%) ARM prevalence rates. Women with ARM were significantly older than controls (69 v 66 years; P = 0.001, 95% CI = 0.008 − 0.027) and were more likely to have ischemic heart disease (21% v 9%; OR = 2.86, P = 0.03, 95% CI = 0.020 – 0.360). Lifetime exogenous and endogenous hormone exposures and other cardiovascular risk factors were not significantly different among women with ARM as compared with controls.

Conclusion Postmenopausal HT may not affect the risk for either early or late ARM in women aged 60 to 80 years. The risk for both entities is not necessarily affected by either exogenous or endogenous lifetime hormone exposure. A history of ischemic heart disease may be associated with an increased risk for ARM.

Postmenopausal hormone therapy may not affect the risk for age-related maculopathy. A history of ischemic heart disease may be associated with an increased risk for age-related maculopathy.

From the 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the 2Department of Ophthalmology, Hadassah Medical Center, Ein-Kerem, Jerusalem, Israel.

Received March 4, 2003; revised and accepted April 15, 2003.

This work was supported by the Yedidut and Young Physician's research grants.

Address correspondence to: Yoram Abramov, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Urogynecology, Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, 1000 Central Street, Suite 730, Evanston, IL 60201 USA. E-mail:

©2004The North American Menopause Society