The culprits of heart disease - smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and family history - also are suspects in the main cause of legal blindness among senior citizens.
Age-related macular degeneration, AMD, appears more often in older people with any of the well-known risk factors, according to new research presented at an ophthalmology conference in Fort Lauderdale.
The cause, however, remains unknown.
AMD is the gradual distortion and sometimes complete loss of straight-ahead vision; peripheral vision remains normal. There is no cure.
The disease now affects 10 million Americans, including 1.7 million people older than 65, who have the worst cases. That’s one in 20 senior citizens.