Myra McGuinness

Quantifying the risk factors for age-related macular degeneration in the presence of survival bias

M.McGuinness photo

Supervisors names: Prof Julie Simpson, Dr Emily Karahalios, Prof Robyn Guymer, Dr Robert Finger

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of severe irreversible visual impairment for older adults in developed nations. Treatment for the later stages of AMD is costly and disruptive to the lives of affected individuals. Apart from general lifestyle and nutritional advice, there are no specific treatments available to avert AMD or prevent progression from earlier to later stages. In an aging society, population health benefits are likely to result through the exploration of modifiable risk factors for AMD. Attrition due to death is common in longitudinal cohort studies designed to investigate the risk factors for AMD. When survival is associated with the exposure of interest, the magnitude of the exposure-outcome association estimated using traditional analysis methods will be biased due to the differential selection of participants who are assessed for AMD. Furthermore, an individual’s exposure to risk factors often changes over time, and this introduces additional complexities when quantifying exposure-outcome associations in the presence of attrition due to death. I aim to examine existing approaches used to assess exposure-outcome associations in the presence of survival bias, and to further develop and implement these approaches to quantify the association between time-varying exposures and AMD.

PhD scholarship and funding body: Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship (Australian Government)