Age-related macular degeneration among the Inuit in Greenland

Int J Circumpolar Health. 2004;63 Suppl 2:320-3. doi: 10.3402/ijch.v63i0.17928.


Objectives: To investigate the clinical appearance and prevalence of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) among the Inuit in Greenland, to investigate risk factors and to initiate the search for possible genetic markers.

Study design: A cross-sectional population study including all individuals older than 60 years of age, born in Greenland and living in the communities of Nuuk and Sisimiut, was performed in 2000 and 2001.

Methods: All participants underwent an ophthalmologic examination, which was complemented by fundus photography and a questionnaire.

Results: 689 individuals, or more than 70%, participated in the study. Data are currently being processed. The preliminary data suggest that AMD among the Inuit is characterised by a rather uniform morphology and poor visual outcome. The detection of more cases of AMD in the early and late stages in relation to intermediate stages furthermore indicates a rapid development of AMD among the Inuit.

Conclusion: The relative homogeneity of the Inuit population of Greenland may represent an opportunity for identifying the aetiological factors responsible for the development of AMD. The future results of this research project will hopefully also contribute towards an increased focus on the growing number of individuals with visual impairment due to AMD among the Inuit.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Greenland / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Inuit / statistics & numerical data*
  • Macular Degeneration / epidemiology
  • Macular Degeneration / ethnology*
  • Middle Aged