HRT may halve macular degeneration risk

Women who take hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can halve their risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to US research.

Evidence of higher rates of AMD in women than in men have suggested a role for oestrogen in the development of the condition.

For the research, data from a study of 74,996 postmenopausal women, aged 50 and over, from a US study conducted between 1980 and 2002 was reanalysed. 

The women were asked to complete a health questionnaire every two years which included questions on whether or not  they were taking HRT or oral contraceptives.

At the end of the study, 888 women were found to have developed AMD. Women who were current users of HRT were 48 per cent less likely to develop AMD than those who had never used HRT. 

But the risk of AMD did not decline linearly with longer duration of HRT use.

Arch Ophthalmol 2008; 126:519-524

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