Turkish researchers have found a “high association” between erectile dysfunction (ED) and neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to a report published in September in the Journal of Ophthalmology.
Neovascular AMD, sometimes called “wet” AMD, occurs when blood vessels leak fluid or blood near the macula, a part of the eyeball. This can lead to blurred vision and scarring of the macula. Eventually, central vision can be impaired or lost.
About 10-15% of people with AMD have the neovascular type, which causes about 90% of blindness in people with AMD. According to the study, the link between ED and neovascular AMD had not been studied before. The researchers’ goal was to determine if there was a link between the two conditions.
One hundred ninety-five men participated in the study. Ninety men (mean age 62) had neovascular AMD. One hundred five healthy volunteers (mean age 60) served as a control group.
The researchers used the erectile function domain of the International Index of Erectile Function to assess the men’s erections. They also evaluated each man’s vision and body mass index.
Overall, almost 95% of the men with neovascular AMD had ED, compared to about 65% of the men in the control group. Severity of ED is shown in the chart below:
|Degree of ED||Men with Neovascular AMD||Control Group|
Neovascular AMD and ED have similar risk factors, including diabetes, hypertension, atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular disease, the authors noted.
They also discussed some other factors that might explain the link. Poor microcirculation can play a role in both AMD and ED. Also, both conditions are associated with endothelial dysfunction.
The authors considered the role of depression in both conditions as well. They pointed out that patients with “low vision” are more likely to be depressed. Depression can also affect a man’s erections. In this study, men with low vision in the control group had a significantly higher ED rate than those with better vision. However, the researchers did not find an association between low vision and ED among the men with neovascular AMD.
Journal of Ophthalmology
Çakmak, Harun, et al.
“The Relationship between Neovascular Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Erectile Dysfunction”
(Full-text. Published online: September 26, 2013)
“Wet macular degeneration”
(December 1, 2012)
Renal and Urology News
Charnow, Jody A.
“Erectile Dysfunction, Macular Degeneration Linked”
(November 18, 2013)