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PURPOSE: It has been suggested that early menopause increases the risk of aging-macula disorder (AMD), the major cause of incurable blindness with a dry and wet late subtype, and that exposure to endogenous or postmenopausal exogenous estrogens reduces this risk. This study was undertaken to investigate whether genetic variations in the estrogen receptor alpha (ESR1) gene are associated with incident AMD. METHODS: In the Rotterdam Study, a prospective population-based cohort study of participants aged 55 years and older, associations between ESR1 PvuII-XbaI haplotypes and incident early or late AMD were studied in 4571 participants after a mean follow-up time of 7.7 years. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs), with adjustment for the most common confounders. RESULTS: ESR1 PvuII-XbaI haplotype 1 was a risk factor for late AMD. Persons with two copies of haplotype 1 were at 3.20 (95% CI, 1.47-6.99) times higher risk for late AMD than noncarriers of haplotype 1, after adjustment for age and sex. This increase was more pronounced for wet AMD (hazard ratio [HR] 4.29; 95% CI, 1.47-12.49) after adjustment for age, sex, smoking, and complement factor H genotype. Correction for additional confounders, including age at menopause, use of hormone replacement therapy, blood pressure, and body mass index did not essentially alter the findings. CONCLUSIONS: Persons with one or two copies of ESR1 PvuII-XbaI haplotype 1 have an increased risk of late AMD, especially of the wet form.

Original publication




Journal article


Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci

Publication Date





1012 - 1017


Estrogen Receptor alpha, Female, Genotype, Haplotypes, Humans, Incidence, Macular Degeneration, Male, Middle Aged, Netherlands, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, Proportional Hazards Models, Prospective Studies, Risk Factors