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April 2004

Prevalence of Age-Related Macular Degeneration in the United States

The Eye Diseases Prevalence Research Group*
Author Affiliations

*The Writing Group members for The Eye Diseases Prevalence ResearchGroup who had complete access to the raw data needed for this report and whobear authorship responsibility for this report are David S. Friedman, MD,MPH (chairperson); Benita J. O'Colmain, MPH; Beatriz Muñoz, PhD; SandraC. Tomany, MA; Cathy McCarty; Paulus T. V. M. de Jong, MD, PhD; Barbara Nemesure,PhD; Paul Mitchell, MD, PhD; John Kempen, MD, PhD; and Nathan Congdon, MD,MPH. The Writing Group for this article has no relevant financial interestin this article.

Arch Ophthalmol. 2004;122(4):564-572. doi:10.1001/archopht.122.4.564

Objective  To estimate the prevalence and distribution of age-related macular degeneration(AMD) in the United States by age, race/ethnicity, and gender.

Methods  Summary prevalence estimates of drusen 125 µm or larger, neovascularAMD, and geographic atrophy were prepared separately for black and white personsin 5-year age intervals starting at 40 years. The estimated rates were basedon a meta-analysis of recent population-based studies in the United States,Australia, and Europe. These rates were applied to 2000 US Census data andto projected US population figures for 2020 to estimate the number of theUS population with drusen and AMD.

Results  The overall prevalence of neovascular AMD and/or geographic atrophyin the US population 40 years and older is estimated to be 1.47% (95% confidenceinterval, 1.38%-1.55%), with 1.75 million citizens having AMD. The prevalenceof AMD increased dramatically with age, with more than 15% of the white womenolder than 80 years having neovascular AMD and/or geographic atrophy. Morethan 7 million individuals had drusen measuring 125 µm or larger andwere, therefore, at substantial risk of developing AMD. Owing to the rapidlyaging population, the number of persons having AMD will increase by 50% to2.95 million in 2020. Age-related macular degeneration was far more prevalentamong white than among black persons.

Conclusion  Age-related macular degeneration affects more than 1.75 million individualsin the United States. Owing to the rapid aging of the US population, thisnumber will increase to almost 3 million by 2020.