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Researchers at the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) have found a connection between moderate levels of alcohol use and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
AMD is a degenerative eye disease, and is one of Australia's most common causes of vision loss and the leading cause of blindness in Australia.
Using data from the Melbourne collaborative cohort study, researchers examined alcohol intake recorded in baseline surveys from 20,963 participants aged 40-69 years between 1990-1994. This was compared to AMD prevalence, determined between 2003-2007.
Consuming more than 20g of alcohol per day (the current Australian recommendation for maximum daily intake) was associated with an increase in early AMD. This increase, of approximately 20% compared to non-drinkers, was considered significant after adjusting for other known AMD associated risk factors.
Lead author, Dr Madeleine Adams, observed: 'While previous studies have illustrated the risks of heavy drinking to eye health, until now there was little evidence regarding the association between moderate alcohol consumption and early AMD.
'Our study shows that even what most Australians would consider to be a moderate intake of 2 glasses of beer or wine a day can also increase your risk of developing AMD, compared to non-drinkers.'
Source: Centre for Eye Research Australia
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