Eye News: The Number of Americans with Macular Degeneration Decreases 30 Percent
The Number of Americans with Age Related Macular Degeneration has Decreased 30% over 2 Decades
(From Archives of Ophthalmology, January 2011.)
"The number of Americans with age related macular degeneration (AMD) fell 30 percent in about two decades," according to a study published in the January issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology, "reducing the threat from the leading cause of blindness among the elderly." This was a somewhat unexpected finding because the population as a whole is aging, and age is the greatest risk factor for the disorder. However, the study authors believed that the reduction of other risk factors, such as hypertension and tobacco use, and the increased use of recommended antioxidant vitamins may be leading to the decreased rate of AMD.
The researchers noted that AMD affected approximately 6.5% of adults ages 40 and over, compared with the previous estimate of 9.4%. AMD, "the National Eye Institute says...is a disease affecting central vision and your ability to see fine details. The disease affects people differently -- some don't notice the gradual change and, for others, it progresses quickly."
For the study, researchers analyzed data from 7,081 people, aged 40 and older, who took part in the 2005 to 2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The data also revealed that blacks aged 60 and older had a lower rate of AMD than whites in the same age group, and that the rate of late (more advanced) AMD among all the participants was 0.8 percent.
In the study, AMD was defined by the presence of geographic atrophy or retinal pigment epithelial detachment, subretinal hemorrhage or visible subretinal new vessels, subretinal fibrous scar or laser treatment scar, or self-reported history of photodynamic or anti–vascular endothelial growth factor treatment for exudative AMD.