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Macular Degeneration Prevalence Lower Than Previously Thought

Prevalence of AMD down from previous estimate of 9.4 percent to 6.5 percent

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 12 (HealthDay News) -- The prevalence of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is lower than previously reported, according to a study published in the January issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

Ronald Klein, M.D., M.P.H., from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, and colleagues examined the prevalence of AMD in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a population-based, cross-sectional study from 2005 to 2008 involving 5,553 participants aged 40 years and older and compared the results to a previous AMD prevalence study conducted from 1988 to 1994. AMD was determined using a standard protocol for the grading of 45 degree digital images from both eyes.

The investigators estimated the prevalence of any AMD to be 6.5 percent and late AMD to be 0.8 percent of the U.S. population. Non-Hispanic black people who were aged 60 or older had a lower prevalence compared to non-Hispanic whites of the same age (odds ratio, 0.37). The overall prevalence was lower than that reported in the previous NHANES study carried out from 1988 to 1994.

"Approximately 6.5 percent of the U.S. population aged 40 years and older in 2005 to 2008 had signs of AMD, which was significantly lower than the previous estimate of 9.4 percent in the 1988 to 1994 NHANES III examination. These estimates are consistent with a decreasing incidence of AMD reported in another population-based study and have important public health implications," the authors write.

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