Risk Factors

Macular degeneration is an eye disease that can cause loss of central vision due to damage of the retina. It's very important to understand what can cause this condition in order to know if you are at risk for AMD because there are precautions that can be taken to avoid damage from this disease.

Age: This condition is the most common above age 60, hence the name age-related macular degeneration. About 2% of people in their 50s have AMD and approximately a third of those aged 75+ have the disease.

Race: Caucasians are at highest risk for developing AMD and for going blind from macular degeneration. Approximately a third of white people have a gene linked to macular degeneration and people with light colored eyes have a higher chance of developing dry AMD.

Genetics: Family history is important because if you have a first degree relative who has AMD then you have three times as high a chance of developing the condition yourself.

Smoking: People who smoke are up to four times more likely to get macular degeneration than those who have never smoked. This is attributed to the fact that smoking reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches different parts of the body, including the eyes.

Other health conditions: There are various health conditions such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, obesity, or diabetic retinopathy that could increase the chances of having macular degeneration. Please make sure to provide all of your medical history to your eye doctor who can guide you what the best steps are to protect your eye health.

Gender: Approximately two thirds of those with macular degeneration are women. There is a possible correlation with the fact that generally women live longer.

If you have any of these risk factors, it is advised to schedule an eye exam with our eye doctor in New York. They will provide you with an accurate diagnosis and guide you as to what your best options are.

Common Questions

It’s important to have an understanding of the risk factors involved with this disease because some are within our control but not all are. However, just being aware of what raises the chances of developing AMD can help you stay one step ahead of this disease and to do your best to take the precautions that can protect you from vision loss. For example, one way of lowering your risk is to never start smoking or to quit this habit. Thankfully, there are many wonderful resources to help you quit smoking so please don’t hesitate to ask your healthcare provider about the available options. On the other hand, we don’t have the luxury of controlling our genetic composition. Knowing your family history and getting checked by your eye doctor can give you insight on certain precautions that can be taken. It also can enable early detection which is crucial in preserving your eyesight. For people who are at high risk for developing the rare form of wet AMD, there is a supplement filled with vitamins and minerals which can help lower the risk by 25%. Please don’t hesitate to discuss the available options with your eye doctor in order to preserve your vision and eye health.
The most common form of blindness related to smoking is macular degeneration. Smoking is the main risk factor of AMD which is in our control to change. It prevents oxygen and necessary nutrients from being able to reach your retina. Therefore, smoking is responsible for increasing your chances of developing AMD by up to four times the amount of risk compared to a non-smoker. It is strongly recommended to quit smoking and your health care provider can recommend various effective methods to quit. If you smoke and have already been diagnosed with AMD, quitting this habit can lower the damage that macular degeneration can cause.
Risk Factors
Dr. Wernick cartoon


There are many factors that can cause macular degeneration and it’s essential to be aware of what they are. If you have any concerns of your chances of developing this disease, please schedule an appointment with our eye doctor who will be happy to discuss this important topic with you and to guide you as to what your best options are. You can schedule an eye exam with our eye doctor by calling (212) 752-6930. Patients searching for advanced treatment for macular degeneration visit our clinic from all over New York, and we are proud to be a leading provider of medical eye care services for patients from New York, Queens, Brooklyn, and Long Island.


At Amplify with Dr Wernick I was seeking help for seemingly intractable, probably age-related dryness. I've seen other doctors about it, and that has been helpful, but what he explained to me about it and the careful way he answered all my questions gave me so much more of a clear understanding of what is going on (and is not) that I am more able to implement all his and others' recommendations than I was before. And he gave me additional resources for further follow-up. I am most grateful.

Cynthia Norton

Wow! This is a great Eye Care medical facility. I was thoroughly examined by Dr. Pinkhasov for over 2 hours. She made sure to check my eyes for pretty much everything and patiently explained proper care for my eyes. They definitely know how to provide great care and treat their patients right. Now I know why they have such a great reputation and been around for so long.

Steve Fay

Dr. Kavner is a gifted diagnostician and orthoptic therapist. He treated me several decades ago for a condition similar to dyslexia. I was having migraines five times per week. I worked with him for about a year and I experienced tremendous improvement (down to 3-4 per year) that has lasted.

Mary K.

Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!

Peter G.

Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!

Kinkie F.

I have always found Dr Kavner's work, expertise and wisdom of the highest caliber. As one of the fathers of OT, occupational othomology, his depth and breadth of knowledge about the eyes' health and wellbeing of the patient is exemplary. Cannot say enough good things about him.

Allen B.
1 2 3



Discover effective treatment options for diabetic retinopathy; consult our eye care professionals to protect your vision and overall well-being

Treating diabetic retinopathy Treating diabetic retinopathy is a critical aspect of preserving vision and maintaining the overall quality of life […]

Read More

Understanding Myopia (nearsightedness): Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is one of the most common vision problems people experience. In this blog post, we'll […]

Read More
Carrots for eyes

Are Carrots Good for Your Eyes?

As an optometrist at Amplify EyeCare Manhattan in New York, one of the most common questions Dr. Nathaniel Wernick often […]

Read More
see all blogs

Contact Us To Amplify Your EyeCare

Amplify EyeCare Manhattan Logo

Working Hours

Tuesday - Thursday




235 East 67th Street, Suite 201, New York, New York, 10065
(212) 759-2220
Website Accessibility Policy
Safety protocols page
privacy policy
Cancellation Policy
For Patients
Call Us
eyefile-adduserphone-handsetcalendar-fullarrow-uparrow-right linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram