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Higher risk of COVID complications for people with macular degeneration

A recent study published in Nature Medicine found that patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) who are diagnosed with COVID-19 are at a greater risk of developing complications.

The study evaluated 6,396 COVID-19 patients who had been hospitalized at New York - Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center during the initial wave of the pandemic. The study revealed that macular degeneration patients gave in to the disease more quickly than patients without macular degeneration and died at three times the rate of non-AMD patients. The severe complications included the need for supplemental oxygen.

The findings do not indicate that AMD patients are more likely to contract COVID-19 but that once they have the disease, they are at at higher risk of developing symptoms.

The conclusion of the study makes sense, because there is extensive overlap of macular degeneration with heart disease, obesity and high blood pressure.

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