Objective: To evaluate the relationships between the amount and type of dietary fat and intermediate age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Design: Women aged 50 to 79 years with high and low lutein intake from 3 sites of the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study were recruited into the Carotenoids in Age-Related Eye Disease Study. Fat intake from 1994 through 1998 was estimated using food frequency questionnaires, and AMD was assessed photographically from 2001 through 2004. Results: Intakes of ω-6 and ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which were highly correlated (r=0.8), were associated with approximately 2-fold higher prevalence of intermediate AMD in high vs low quintiles. However, monounsaturated fatty acid intake was associated with lower prevalence. Age interactions were often observed. In women younger than 75 years (n=1325), total fat and saturated fatty acid intakes were associated with increased prevalence of AMD (multivariate adjusted odds ratios [95% confidence interval] for intermediate AMD, 1.7 [1.0-2.7] for quintile 5 vs quintile 1 for total fat [P=.10 for trend] and 1.6 [0.7-3.6] for saturated fatty acids [P=.23 for trend]). The associations were reversed in older women. Conclusions: These results support a growing body of evidence suggesting that diets high in several types of fat may contribute to the risk of intermediate AMD and that diets high in monounsaturated fatty acids may be protective.
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