Studies evaluating the association between age-related macular degeneration (AMD) risk and HCV infection are scant. In this population-based cohort study, 13,300 patients newly diagnosed as having HCV (HCV cohort) and 26,600 propensity score-matched patients without HCV (non-HCV cohort) were identified from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database between 2000 and 2013. Furthermore, 1,983 patients with HCV who received pegylated interferon and ribavirin treatment (HCV-treated cohort) and propensity score-matched patients with HCV (matched at a ratio of 1:2) who did not receive this treatment (HCV-untreated cohort) were selected from the HCV cohort. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to calculate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) associated with the risk of AMD in the HCV and non-HCV cohorts. The adjusted HR (aHR) for AMD in the HCV cohort was 1.22 (95% CI = 1.09-1.35). This significant association was observed only for nonexudative AMD (aHR = 1.22, 95% CI = 1.09-1.37). Compared with the HCV-untreated cohort, the HCV-treated cohort showed no significant association with any type of AMD (aHR = 1.07, 95% CI = 0.81-1.43). Age and sex did not modify AMD development after the exposure and treatment of chronic HCV infection. Our findings revealed that patients with chronic HCV infection had an increased risk of AMD.
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