“D”egenerating Vision

Low vitamin D blood levels may raise the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), among women at genetic risk for the disease.

Most notable for published studies suggesting its role in bone health, Vitamin D may play a role in vision. Amy Millen, from The State University of New York (New York, USA), and colleagues studied 913 women, ages 54 to 75 years, enrolled in the Carotenoids in Age-Related Eye Disease Study, whose data included serum 25(OH)D concentrations (blood levels of Vitamin D), genetic data, and measures of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).  Data analysis revealed that the women who were deficient in Vitamin D and had a specific high-risk genotype were 6.7-times more likely to develop AMD, as compared to women with sufficient Vitamin D and no high-risk genotype. The study authors report that: “In this study, the odds of [age-related macular degeneration] were highest in those with deficient vitamin D status and 2 risk alleles for the CFH and CFI genotypes, suggesting a synergistic effect between vitamin D status and complement cascade protein function.”

Millen AE, Meyers KJ, Liu Z, Engelman CD, Wallace RB, LeBlanc ES, Tinker LF, Iyengar SK, Robinson JG, Sarto GE, Mares JA. “Association Between Vitamin D Status and Age-Related Macular Degeneration by Genetic Risk.”  JAMA Ophthalmol. 2015 Aug 27.