4 Diseases Linked to Macular Degeneration

4 Diseases Linked to Macular Degeneration

Researchers have been following markers of disease for some time now. It is these clues that the body had been giving us but were never known before as many are found deep in the DNA chain. In many cases, modern medicine can detect these markers and possibly apply beneficial treatments. However, these are pre-cursor markers of potential disease to possibly manifest  in the future. It is markers found within active diseases which are now showing up as predictive markers for other disease(s) on top of the already established pathology. 

As confusing as this may seem, some of the process can be explained here citing these 4 diseases linked to macular degeneration. Through these markers, researchers are connecting the dots of how mitigating or eradicating these diseases may be another way of stopping, or at least slowing, macular degeneration before it starts.


If you are overweight you could be at a much higher risk for developing AMD (age-related macular degeneration). 

Your body mass index (BMI) is a rudimentary measurement to determine whether your are within, under, or over a healthy weight for your body size. As defined by Medical News Today, a BMI of 30 or above is considered obese. 

According to the last US data collected, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the,

  • Percent of adults aged 20 and over with obesity: 42.5% (2017-2018)
  • Percent of adults aged 20 and over with overweight, including obesity: 73.6% (2017-2018)

With such high numbers, researchers have been discovering all sorts of disease markers within obesity and some are linked to macular degeneration. 

A spring 2021 study published in the International Journal of Obesity and reported by Nature  stated and concluded that,

“Our search yielded 1731 articles, []…BMI-defined obesity was positively associated with incident cataract, incident AMD and incident DR [diabetic retinopathy] in Western populations…Overall, we found strong evidence supporting associations between obesity and age-related eye diseases.”

Lower your BMI by eating less processed foods, less excessive consumption, more whole food choices (that means not out of a box, can, or bag but actual food you prepare, like raw broccoli) is an excellent start. Add in an exercise program and markers for AMD just may be reduced. 

Irritable Bowel Disease

IBD aka IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) is, according to a definition posted by the Mayo Clinic, 

“…a common disorder that affects the large intestine. Signs and symptoms include: 

  • Cramping
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea, constipation, or both 

IBS is a chronic condition that you’ll need to manage long term. Only a small number of people with IBS have severe signs and symptoms. Some people can control their symptoms by managing diet, lifestyle and stress. More-severe symptoms can be treated with medication and counseling.”

It is these obscure numbered markers from an archival study published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) that has researchers linking IBD to AMD. As research continues, it was concluded that,

“Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is associated with CFH gene polymorphisms [occurring in several different forms], including Y402H on chromosome 1, and the LOC387715 variant A69S on chromosome 10. Both forms of advanced AMD, geographic atrophy and neovascular disease, are related to these polymorphisms.”


When skin cells multiply they should function in a responsive fashion, sloughing off when they die and regenerating new cells to takeover. However, psoriasis disease is an autoimmune disorder where the body, for unknown reasons, multiplies skin cells at ten times the normal rate. These create red patches with white scaly covering that can cause itching, cracks, and pain. 

As researchers studied psoriasis they kept showing a link to macular degeneration, primarily neovascular age-related incidences in males. In a population based study published by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (JAAD) titled, ‘Association between psoriasis and neovascular age-related macular degeneration,’ it was found that,

“Prior studies found that ocular complications are common in patients with psoriasis. Neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a degenerative disease of the retina and its incidence might be affected by inflammation and oxidative stress, among other causes… psoriasis and AMD may share similar pathophysiologic inflammatory characteristics,…This study found that patients with AMD had higher odds of prior psoriasis than male patients without AMD. However, there were no increased odds for AMD for females with prior psoriasis.”

If you have psoriasis, working with a naturopathic doctor or medical dermatologist could help reduce symptoms and increase macular degeneration prevention.

Ankylosing Spondylitis

An inflammatory disease called ankylosing spondylitis is an accumulated fusion of the vertebrae over time. This can cause a significant compromise in range-of-motion (ROM) and has been linked to inflammation in the eyes, a major predisposition of macular degeneration. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis include heart problems, compression fractures and eye inflammation. Eye inflammation is described as: 

“Eye inflammation (uveitis). One of the most common complications of ankylosing spondylitis, uveitis can cause rapid-onset eye pain, sensitivity to light and blurred vision. See your doctor right away if you develop these symptoms.”

In the study, ‘HLA B27 as predisposition factor to suffer age related macular degeneration,’ published in Cellular and Molecular Immunology, it was stated that,

“Two hundred and fifty patients over 55 years old, without ophthalmologic pathology who went to hospital for an analytical routine check were used as control. The analysis of the data shows a significant difference between two groups. Allele HLA-B27 [gene expression] correlated positively with ARMD [age-related macular degeneration]”

If you suffer with ankylosing spondylitis, maintain a close checkup schedule with your ophthalmologist.

These 4 diseases linked to macular degeneration give another glimpse into the complexity of the manifestation of this ocular threat. As researchers discover more pathways this disease can take they will inevitably get closer to not only more advanced treatment but possible a cure in the not-so-distant future.