While the causes of age-related macular degeneration are complex, several of the risk factors are controllable. Smoking, being overweight overall and around the abdomen, and having unchecked cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure all increase a person’s risk for AMD. Long-term exposure to the sun without eye protection is, similarly, a risk factor.
Some risk factors in AMD are not under anyone’s control. Age is one of those factors; the older a person is, the more likely he or she is to have Age-related Macular Degeneration. Genetics — that is, a family history of macular degeneration — is universally believed to be a factor as well. Other pieces to the risk puzzle include: light-colored irises (irides); far-sightedness; high levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation in the body; and being female. Females are more susceptible to AMD than males are, not because they are more genetically prone to develop AMD, but because they live longer.