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 microm or larger, neovascular AMD, and geographic atrophy were prepared separately for black and white persons in 5-year age intervals starting at 40 years. The estimated rates were based on a meta-analysis of recent population-based studies in the United States, Australia, and Europe. These rates were applied to 2000 US Census data and to projected US population figures for 2020 to estimate the number of the US population with drusen and AMD.
Results: The overall prevalence of neovascular AMD and/or geographic atrophy in the US population 40 years and older is estimated to be 1.47% (95% confidence interval, 1.38%-1.55%), with 1.75 million citizens having AMD. The prevalence of AMD increased dramatically with age, with more than 15% of the white women older than 80 years having neovascular AMD and/or geographic atrophy. More than 7 million individuals had drusen measuring 125 microm or larger and were, therefore, at substantial risk of developing AMD. Owing to the rapidly aging population, the number of persons having AMD will increase by 50% to 2.95 million in 2020. Age-related macular degeneration was far more prevalent among white than among black persons.
Conclusion: Age-related macular degeneration affects more than 1.75 million individuals in the United States. Owing to the rapid aging of the US population, this number will increase to almost 3 million by 2020.