The relationship between iris color, hair color, and skin sun sensitivity and the 10-year incidence of age-related maculopathy: the Beaver Dam Eye Study.

Kleins Lab // Publications // Aug 01 2003

PubMed ID: 12917167

Author(s): Tomany SC, Klein R, Klein BE; Beaver Dam Eye Study. The relationship between iris color, hair color, and skin sun sensitivity and the 10-year incidence of age-related maculopathy: the Beaver Dam Eye Study. Ophthalmology. 2003 Aug;110(8):1526-33. PMID 12917167

Journal: Ophthalmology, Volume 110, Issue 8, Aug 2003

PURPOSE To examine the association between iris color, hair color, and skin sun sensitivity and the 10-year incidence of age-related maculopathy (ARM).

DESIGN Population-based cohort study.

PARTICIPANTS A population of 4926 adults (range, 43-86 years of age at baseline) living in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, was studied at baseline (1988-1990); of these, 3684 and 2764 subjects, respectively, participated in 5-year and 10-year follow-up examinations.

METHODS Data on hair color at age 15 years and skin responsiveness to sun exposure were obtained from a standardized questionnaire administered at the baseline examination. Iris color was determined with penlight illumination during the baseline examination by using photographic standards. Age-related maculopathy status was determined by grading stereoscopic color fundus photos with the Wisconsin Age-Related Maculopathy Grading System.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES Incidence and progression of ARM.

RESULTS When controlling for age and gender, people with brown eyes were significantly more likely to develop soft indistinct drusen (risk ratio [RR], 1.53; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.19-1.97; P < 0.01) than were people with blue eyes. However, people with brown eyes were significantly less likely to develop retinal pigment epithelial depigmentation (RR, 0.58; 95% CI, 0.41-0.82; P < 0.01) than were people with blue eyes. When compared with persons with blond hair, persons with brown hair were at decreased risk of developing pigmentary abnormalities (RR, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.53-1.00; P = 0.05). Iris color, hair color, and skin sun sensitivity were not associated with the development of late ARM.

CONCLUSION Iris color and hair color were found to be associated with the 10-year incidence of pigmentary abnormalities. Iris color seems to be inconsistently related to the 10-year incidence of early ARM lesions and the progression of ARM.