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Nutritional and lifestyle risk factors in AMD: the Coimbra eye study

Session Details

Session Title: AMD I

Session Date/Time: Thursday 17/09/2015 | 08:30-10:30

Paper Time: 08:54

Venue: Athena

First Author: : C.Farinha PORTUGAL

Co Author(s): :    F. Mira   I. Lains   S. Nunes   M. Cachulo   L. Santos   R. Silva

Abstract Details

PURPOSE:Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a multifactorial disease characterized by a complex interplay between genetic and environmental risk factors. Among the last, stand out smoking and nutritional habits. Current knowledge suggests that the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle may be protective for AMD. Their role, however, has never been evaluated. The aim of this study is to compare lifestyle and dietary patterns of a Portuguese population with and without AMD.


Ophthalmology Department, Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal.


This study was developed in the scope of the Coimbra Eye Study, a cross-sectional population-based study that includes subjects ≥55 years from two Portuguese populations, one from a coastal and the other from an inland town. In this last, besides the standard complete ophthalmological exam and the color fundus photographs (CFP), all participants were invited to answer a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) and inquired about their lifestyle habits, comorbidities, and medication. AMD diagnosis was defined based on CFP by a certified reading center. The FFQ answers were analyzed according to the different nutrients and foods in order to identify a ‘Mediterranean diet’ pattern.


Of the 3409 inland town subjects summoned to participate, 1005 were selected using criteria to ensure that half the patients had the disease and half did not. Of these, 121 did not meet the inclusion criteria. The final sample consisted of 884 patients - 451 with no signs of AMD and 433 with AMD. These groups were comparable regarding demographics, comorbidities and smoking status. Regarding the dietary profiles our results revealed significant differences. Subjects without AMD presented dietary habits compatible with the typical Mediterranean diet (excluding wine), which includes cereals, dark green leafy vegetables, fruit and olive oil, among others (p=0.037). Fast food, readymade meals, dairy products and meat were more frequently consumed by AMD patients. The analysis of the nutrients consumption revealed that fibers, caffeine, vitamins C and E and carotenoids were more frequently consumed by subjects without AMD (p superior or = to 0.05). This group also had a significantly higher level of practiced physical exercise (p=0.006).


Our results revealed that a ‘Mediterranean diet’ and physical exercise are more common in subjects without AMD, thus suggesting that they may perform a protective role. Further prospective studies will be needed to confirm it.

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