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DS Friedman, NG Congdon, JH Kempen, BJ O'ColmainEye Disease Prevalence Study Group; The Prevalence of Age-Related Macular Degeneration in the United States, a Meta-Analysis . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2002;43(13):3966.
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Purpose: To determine the prevalence of large drusen (≷ 125 microns), geographic atrophy and neovascular macular degeneration as well as the prevalence of bilateral blindness from AMD for residents of the United States. Methods: A meta-analysis was conducted using data provided by researchers who have conducted large population-based eye disease prevalence studies (both in the United States and elsewhere) on relevant populations. Data from the Baltimore Eye Survey, the Beaver Dam Eye Study, the Salisbury Eye Evaluation Project, Proyecto Ver, the Melbourne Visual Impairment Project, the Blue Mountains Eye Study, the Rotterdam Study, and the Barbados Eye Study were included. Data were combined to obtain current estimates and future predictions of the number of individuals affected with sight-threatening AMD in the United States. Results: An estimated 354,200 European-derived individuals are bilaterally blind from AMD, and this will increase to 501,600 by the year 2020. Far fewer African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans are blind from AMD (4,300 and 3,100 respectively). An even larger number of individuals have geographic atrophy (736,800 European-derived and 19,400 African-derived Americans) and neovascular AMD (985,600 European-derived and 66,300 African-derived Americans) in at least one eye. Large drusen are more common than the advanced forms of AMD, with 4,399,800 European-derived Americans affected in one eye and 2,190,600 bilaterally affected. Fewer African-Americans are affected, with 510,200 affected in one eye and 151,200 bilaterally. Prevalence rates for drusen were considerably higher in the Beaver Dam Eye Study, so national rates may be even higher. Conclusion: Macular degeneration is a leading cause of blindness in the United States. The number bilaterally blind from this condition is expected to increase by 41%over the next 20 years because of the aging of the U.S. population. Data on the prevalence of AMD among Hispanics and other races are limited. The large number of individuals with drusen ≷ 125 microns in size in one or both eyes indicates that many are at risk of vision loss from AMD and may benefit from prophylaxis with high-dose vitamins and zinc.
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