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June 1995

Features of Age-Related Macular Degeneration in a Black Population

Author Affiliations

From The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md (Dr Schachat); the University at Stony Brook (NY) (Drs Hyman and Leske and Ms Wu); and the Ministry of Health, Barbados, West Indies (Dr Connell). Members of the Barbados Eye Study Group are listed in a box on page 735.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1995;113(6):728-735. doi:10.1001/archopht.1995.01100060054032

Objective:  To report on the frequency of features of agerelated macular degeneration in a black population based on fundus photograph gradings.

Design:  Population-based study.

Setting:  Barbados, West Indies.

Study Population:  Residents of Barbados, selected by a random sample of Barbados-born citizens, aged 40 to 84 years.

Main Outcome Measure:  Gradings from 30° stereoscopic macular photographs.

Results:  Black participants (n=3444) completed examinations at the study site and had gradable macular photographs in both eyes. Drusen larger than 63 μm occurred with comparable frequency in men and women. The frequency of small drusen decreased with age, while medium and large drusen were more common in older participants. Frequencies of all age-related macular degeneration-related characteristics were similar for men and women except for small drusen, which occurred more commonly in women. Confluent drusen and pigment atrophy also increased significantly with age. Exudative features occurred in 0.5% of the participants.

Conclusions:  This study provides population-based data on the frequency of features of age-related macular degeneration based on photographic gradings of a black population. Features of early age-related macular degeneration were common, but appeared at a lower frequency than has been reported for white populations. Exudative disease was infrequent, occurring in about one of 200 participants.

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