Epidemiology of age-related maculopathy: a review

Eur J Epidemiol. 2003;18(9):845-54. doi: 10.1023/a:1025643303914.


Age-related maculopathy (ARM) is a degenerative disease of the retina and the leading cause of incurable blindness and visual impairment in industrialized countries. By definition, ARM is confined to the age-category above 50 years. The aetiology of ARM is still unknown, despite intensive research on many fronts. In this paper, we provide a review of the epidemiology of ARM. The most prominent findings were an exponential increase in frequency with age, a significant familial and genetic component, and a strong association with smoking. Other risk factors that were found less consistently were atherosclerosis, low intake of antioxidant nutrients, and cataract extraction. Future studies, both observational and experimental, will hopefully identify more risk factors that are amenable to prevention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age of Onset
  • Comorbidity
  • Diet
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration / diagnosis
  • Macular Degeneration / epidemiology*
  • Macular Degeneration / etiology
  • Macular Degeneration / genetics
  • Risk Factors