January 1995
Volume 36, Issue 1
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Articles  |   January 1995
The relationship of age-related maculopathy, cataract, and glaucoma to visual acuity.
Author Affiliations
  • R Klein
    Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison.
  • Q Wang
    Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison.
  • B E Klein
    Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison.
  • S E Moss
    Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison.
  • S M Meuer
    Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison.
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science January 1995, Vol.36, 182-191. doi:
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    • Get Citation

      R Klein, Q Wang, B E Klein, S E Moss, S M Meuer; The relationship of age-related maculopathy, cataract, and glaucoma to visual acuity.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1995;36(1):182-191.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

PURPOSE: To investigate the relationship of age-related maculopathy, cataract, and glaucoma to visual acuity in the population-based Beaver Dam Eye Study. METHODS: A cross-sectional, population-based study was performed in people 43 through 86 years of age residing in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, who were identified between 1987 and 1988 and examined (n = 4926) between 1988 and 1990. Of those who participated, 99.4% were white. Visual acuity was measured (n = 4886) using a modification of the Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study protocol. Stereoscopic color fundus photographs and slit lamp and retroillumination photographs of the lens were graded in a masked fashion using standardized protocols to determine the presence of age-related maculopathy and central cataract. RESULTS: Fifty-seven percent of those who were legally blind had late age-related maculopathy in both eyes. The frequency of visual acuity of 20/200 or worse was not significantly different in eyes with exudative macular degeneration (48%) than in eyes with pure geographic atrophy (42%). While controlling for other factors (age, central cataract, and glaucoma) in participants with both gradable age-related maculopathy and visual acuity measurable in at least one eye (n = 4716), investigators found that each of the early age-related maculopathy lesions was associated with a decrease in visual acuity of approximately two letters or fewer when compared to eyes without these lesions. Late age-related maculopathy was associated with a decrease of approximately seven lines of letters read correctly. CONCLUSION: These data demonstrate that exudative macular degeneration and pure geographic atrophy are the most important causes of legal blindness in this population and that early age-related maculopathy, central cataract, and glaucoma had a small effect on visual acuity.

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