What diets place people at risk for developing AMD?

Allen Taylor, PhD
Tufts University School of Medicine (Boston, MA)
Year Awarded:
Grant Duration:
April 1, 2007 to September 30, 2009
Macular Degeneration
Award Amount:
Grant Reference ID:
Award Type:
Award Region:
US Northeastern

Carbohydrate, Dietary Patterns and AMD risk in 2 Cohorts


This project uses data from a number of large studies to test whether limiting carbohydrates reduces risk of developing AMD


Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is due to damage to the most sensitive portion of the retina, the macula. It is in this zone that light information is received and converted to signals that are then interpreted by the brain. Estimates vary for prevalence of AMD, but it appears that over 15% of the elderly are subject to some visual loss due to AMD. With the aging of our population, along with increasing diabetes and obesity, this proportion is sure to grow significantly. It is the major cause of non remediable blindness. The personal, societal, and public health ramifications of such an epidemic are horrific. We obtained preliminary evidence that limiting dietary simple carbohydrates is associated with prolonged retina function and less indication of macular damage. Since at present there are no intervention trials which specifically test the hypothesis that limiting simple carbohydrates is associated with prolonged retina function, we seek to use data from existing large well executed ophthalmic/nutritional/epidemiologic studies to test the hypothesis. Had we set out to do this work from the beginning it would cost many millions of dollars. By using existing data sets, we can accomplish this mission with a fraction of the cost. This grant will help us accomplish this objective.


Chiu, C.J., Milton, R.C., Ferris III, F.L., Gensler, G., and Taylor, A. (2007) Association between dietary glycemic index and age-related macular degeneration in nondiabetic participants in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study. Am. J. Clin. Nut. 86:180-188.  

Zhang X., Dudek, E.J., Liu B., Ding L., Fernandes A.F., Liang J.J., Horwitz J., Taylor A., and Shang F. (2007) Degradation of C-terminal Truncated {alpha}A-crystallins by the Ubiquitin Proteasome Pathway. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 48:4200-4208.  

Morris, M.S., Jacques, P.F., Chylack, L.T., Hubbard, L.D., Armstrong, J., Hankinson, S. E., Willett, W. C., Taylor, A. (2007) Intake of zinc and antioxidant micronutrients and early age-related maculopathy - Ophthalmic Epidemiol. 2007 Sep-Oct;14(5):288-98.  

Chiu, C-J., Milton, R.C., Klein, R., Gensler, G., and Taylor, A. (2007) Dietary carbohydrate and the progression of age-related macular degeneration: a prospective study from the Age-Related Eye Disease Study. Am. J. Clin. 86: 1210-1218.