Eye Health Data Verified

The Link Between Cholesterol and Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Published on May 26, 2023 and last reviewed on Jun 07, 2023   -  5 min read


Blood cholesterol level impacts age-related degenerative changes in the macula of the eye of older people. Read more about the topic in detail.


Blood and cell membranes contain a waxy substance called cholesterol. The liver produces the majority of the cholesterol in the body. Cholesterol travels in through blood bundled up in packets called lipoproteins. There are two types of cholesterol:

The bad and dangerous form of cholesterol is called low-density lipoprotein (LDL). This cholesterol can accumulate in the arteries and create fatty plaque waxy deposits.

The good and healthy type of cholesterol is called high-density lipoprotein (HDL). It carries extra cholesterol from the arteries to the liver, where it is eliminated from the body.

Triglycerides are another type of cholesterol the body produces from food. This cholesterol is considered good at low levels but may be unhealthy when combined with high, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL).

An eye condition that affects central vision commonly affects older individuals above 50 years of age. This condition is frequently affected by the macula, the portion of the retina at the back that controls central vision. In the advanced stage, people lose their ability to drive, see faces, and read smaller letters. There may be no symptoms in the early stages, making it difficult for individuals to recognize the condition.

Age-related macular degeneration can be divided into two primary categories:

  1. Dry Form - These cholesterol are a more common type in which macula may include yellow deposits known as Drusen in people. The vision might remain the same if persons have a few minor Drusen. However, when they increase in size and number, they may cloud or distort the eyesight, which is especially problematic while reading. The condition gradually affects the vision, and as it progresses, the macula's light-sensitive cells get thinner and eventually disappear. One may experience blind spots in the central vision if anyone has an atrophic form. They could lose primary sight if that becomes worse. Early, moderate, and late are the different stages of dry age-related macular degeneration. Over several years, the condition worsens gradually and leads to a wet form.

  2. Wet Form - This form of advanced age-related macular degeneration is rare. It frequently results in quicker visual loss. The macula has unstable blood vessels growing underneath it. The retina gets blood, and fluid leaks from these blood vessels. Straight lines appear wavered because of the distortion in the vision.

Additionally, the person may lose their central vision and develop blind areas. The bleeding from these blood vessels eventually leaves a scar, which impairs central vision permanently. Macular degeneration often manifests in the dry form but can also progress to the wet type. The moist form of macular degeneration only affects roughly 10 percent of patients.

The causes of age-related macular degeneration include:

  • Older individuals above 50 yrs of age.

  • Smoking.

  • Hypertensive or having high cholesterol.

  • Obesity.

  • Saturated fat consumption.

  • Fair skin tone.

  • Women.

The retina is a thin layer of tissue on the back of the eye. It helps to convert light into a signal to the brain, which changes them into vision. Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol carries cholesterol to the body's tissues and artery walls, while high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol transports cholesterol from the artery walls to the liver. Excessive levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) can cause artery and vein narrowing, plaque buildup on the walls of arteries and veins, and the development of blood clots due to artery plaque buildup or as a result of plaque fragments transferring to a smaller artery. Insufficient blood supply to the brain causes a stroke, resulting in arterial blockages or narrowing arteries. Blockages that occur within the heart may lead to a heart attack. The obstructions that affect the retina of the eyes are known as retinal arterial occlusion.

  • Eye Examinations - The eye doctor dilates the pupils with drops before using a specialized tool to look into the inside of the eye. The ophthalmologist searches for a mottled appearance brought on by Drusen, which are yellow deposits that develop under the retina.

  • Optical Coherence Tomography - The retina is shown in detail in cross-section in this non-invasive imaging test. It shows regions of the retina that might be thinned, thickened, or swollen. These may develop due to fluid accumulation from blood vessel leaks in and under the retina.

  • Fluorescein Angiography - The eye doctor may inject a dye into an arm vein during this procedure. The dye enters the eye and highlights the blood vessels there. A specialized camera captures multiple images while the dye passes through the blood vessels. The scans will demonstrate the presence of retinal or blood vessel abnormalities, which are symptoms of macular degeneration.

  • Ultrasound Examination of the Eye - Ultrasound uses high-energy sound waves to examine the eye by creating echoes as they travel through the internal tissues. A small probe that transmits and receives sound waves is gently put on the eye surface after using eye drops to numb the eye. The echoes provide a picture of inside the eye.

  • Medications - Medications like Bevacizumab, Faricimab-svoa, Pegaptanib, and Ranibizumab. These medications help to inhibit the growth of blood vessels and the leakage from the vessels in the eye that lead to wet macular degeneration. These medications helped a lot of people regain some of their lost vision. Possibly more than once will be necessary for this treatment.

  • Change Diet - Doctors could advise patients to follow a healthy, antioxidant-rich diet that includes salmon, dark leafy greens, and other eye-friendly foods like yellow fruits and vegetables.

  • Supplements - According to the results of a significant study by the national eye Institute called AREDS (age-related eye disease study), the specific mix of vitamins and nutrients may protect the eyes in certain patients with intermediate or late-stage age-related macular degeneration. The supplements might prevent intermediate age-related macular degeneration from progressing to advanced stages and prolong vision for some people.

  • Injections - Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor is a medication that fights fluid buildup in the macula, a region of the retina that gives central vision and aids in reading fine text. This reduces edema, and the patient receives a steroid injection in the eye from the doctor.

  • Laser Therapy - Blood vessels close to the macula are sealed off and burned by a laser. This helps to prevent them from leaking, and they might not experience much pain because the retina lacks pain nerves.

What Are the Preventive Measures to Avoid this Condition?

Precautions have to be taken to avoid the condition, such as

  • Regular Exercise - A rise in HDL cholesterol and a decrease in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides can be achieved by doing 30 minutes of regular exercise five times per week. It may include walking, jogging, swimming, riding, and rollerblading.

  • Quit the Habits - Quit habits like smoking may lower high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol makes their blood vessels more vulnerable to injury. This results in them becoming more susceptible to heart disease. Increase good cholesterol, and reduce bad cholesterol and triglycerides, among many other health-friendly advantages, after quitting smoking.

  • Maintain Healthy Diet - The American Heart Association suggests including a wide range of lean proteins, such as soy, chicken, and fish, as well as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and beans, in the diet. Red meat, salt, sugar, saturated and trans fats should all be limited in the diet.


Eye conditions that affect central vision are commonly seen in older individuals above 50 years of age. This condition is frequently affected by the macula, the portion of the retina at the back that controls central vision. In the advanced stage, people lose their ability to drive, see faces, and read smaller letters. There may be no symptoms in the early stages, making it difficult for individuals to recognize the condition. It is advisable to visit a doctor if any of these symptoms may be experienced. Treatment for high cholesterol is usually as simple as modifying the diet and improving regular exercise.

Article Resources

Last reviewed at:
07 Jun 2023  -  5 min read




Comprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Related Questions & Answers

Faricimab-Svoa - Uses, Mechanism of Action, Dosage, Warnings, and Side Effects

Article Overview: Faricimab-svoa is a drug used in the management of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Read the article to know more. Read Article

Kaushal Bhavsar
Kaushal Bhavsar
Pulmonology (Asthma Doctors)

Drug Overview Faricimab-svoa is a drug used in the treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). It is available in solution form for injections. Faricimab-svoa injections are also recommended for patients with diabetes-induced macular edema (DME). Macular edema can result in blurring of visi...  Read Article

Aflibercept - Dosage, Indications, Contraindications, and Side Effects

Article Overview: Aflibercept is an inhibitor of vascular endothelial growth factor used to treat wet age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. Read Article


Overview Aflibercept is a recombinant protein found in the Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells that contain receptors for specific domains of human vascular endothelial growth factors, VEGF-R1 and VEGF-R2, linked to the Fc component of immunoglobulin gamma1 (IgG1 Fc). Aflibercept has a strong affinity...  Read Article

Lecithin Cholesterol Acyltransferase Deficiency - Causes, Symptoms, Pathophysiology, Treatment

Article Overview: Lecithin cholesterol acyltransferase is crucial for synthesizing cholesteryl esters in plasma, encouraging high-density lipoprotein production. Read Article

Vedprakash Verma
Vedprakash Verma
General Medicine, Internal Medicine

Introduction The lipoprotein-associated enzyme lecithin cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) is essential for the maturation of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) particles, the esterification of free cholesterol, and the intravascular stage of reverse cholesterol transport. In plasma, lecithin cholestero...  Read Article

Popular Articles Most Popular Articles

Do you have a question on Cholesterol or Age-related Macular Degeneration?

Ask a Doctor Online

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.