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The Link between Blood Pressure Drugs and AMD

eye tips college studentsWhen it comes to staying healthy and active, you ensure you follow all of your doctor’s recommendations and take your medications.  If you take medication to lower your blood pressure, it’s important to know that you could be increasing your risk of developing AMD, or age-related macular degeneration.  These risks are significantly increased if you take Apresoline and Loniten, both of which dilate the blood vessels.

Age-related macular degeneration is a disease that impacts an estimated 11 million Americans.  This disease causes the eye’s macula to degenerate; the macula is responsible for helping us clearly focus on small details.  AMD can make it difficult for people to read, drive, and continue enjoying normal activities.  In some cases, AMD can lead to permanent vision loss and even blindness.

AMD is linked to age, as it’s prevalent among people who are 65 and older.  While studies have linked AMD to smoking and genetics, a new study has found that there could be a link between blood pressure medications and AMD.

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health conducted a study of 5,000 residents in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin from 1988 to 2013.  During this time, researchers tracked the prevalence of age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.  During this study, researchers found that people who took blood pressure drugs (including Apresoline and Loniten) were more likely to develop early-stage AMD.

For residents who were not taking blood pressure drugs, only 8.2 percent of them developed early AMD.  For residents who took medication for high blood pressure, nearly 20 percent of them developed AMD.

Researchers cautioned that while the link between blood pressure medication and AMD is not definitive, it’s worth talking to your doctor about these risks.  If you’re worried that blood pressure medication could increase your risk of early-stage AMD, you should remain vigilant in visiting your ophthalmologist.

At NewView Eye Center in Reston, Virginia (also serving Washington, D.C.), Dr. Jacqueline Griffiths and her colleagues can provide patients with excellent care to detect the development of age-related macular degeneration.  For more information about your risk for AMD, call 703-834-9777 schedule a consultation with Dr. Griffiths at NewView Eye Center today.