Purpose: To evaluate the relationship between red blood cell (RBC) polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) levels, and dietary PUFA and fish intake, with prevalent and incident age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in a US cohort of postmenopausal women. Methods: This analysis included 1456 postmenopausal women from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Clinical Trials. RBC PUFAs were measured from fasting serum samples collected at WHI baseline. Dietary PUFAs and fish intake were assessed via food frequency questionnaires at baseline. There were 240 women who had prevalent AMD and 138 who self-reported AMD development over 9.5 years. Adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were estimated for prevalent AMD by RBC PUFA levels, dietary PUFA intake, and frequency of fish consumption. Adjusted hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals were estimated for incident AMD. A p-for-trend was estimated for continuous measures of dietary PUFA and fish intake. Results: No significant association was found between prevalent or incident AMD and RBC docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) + eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), EPA, DHA, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), linoleic acid (LA), or arachidonic acid (AA). A positive association was found between dietary intake of AA and odds of prevalent AMD (p-for-trend for continuous AA intake = 0.02) and between intake of LA/ALA and incident AMD (p-for-trend for continuous ratio of LA/ALA intake = 0.03). No statistically significant associations were found between AMD and dietary intake of PUFAs or fish. Conclusions: RBC PUFAs were not associated with AMD in this cohort. Overall, dietary analyses of PUFAs supported this, excepting dietary AA intake and intake of LA in proportion to ALA of which there were trends of increased risk.
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