Objective: To report the prevalence of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in a population-based sample of Hispanic individuals aged 50 years and older.
Methods: Proyecto VER (Vision and Eye Research) is a population-based study of blindness and visual impairment of Hispanic people in Arizona. Participants underwent complete ophthalmic evaluation, including stereoscopic fundus photography of fields 1, 2, and 4. All photographs for participants aged 50 years and older were graded using the Wisconsin Age-Related Maculopathy Grading system. The following signs were graded: drusen size, drusen type, and the area covered by drusen; pigmentary abnormalities; geographic atrophy; and exudative AMD.
Results: Sixty-seven percent (3178) of the original 4774 participants were 50 years of age or older. Of those, 92% (2928) had fundus photographs in at least 1 eye, and 95% (2780) of the photographs were of sufficient quality to grade early and late AMD.
Outcome measures: The overall prevalence of late AMD was 0.5%. The prevalence increased from 0.1% in the 50- to 59-year age group to 4.3% in the group aged 80 years and older. Likewise, early AMD was strongly associated with age with a prevalence of 20% in the 50- to 59-year age group, increasing to 54% in the group aged 80 years and older. The prevalence of early AMD in Hispanic people was significantly higher than the reported prevalence in the white population. However, the prevalence of late AMD was lower than the estimates for the white population of the United States.
Conclusions: Although early macular changes were very common among Hispanic people, the prevalence of late AMD was infrequent. Further work is necessary to understand the underlying reasons for the different patterns of presentation of early and late signs of AMD among racial/ethnic groups and to characterize early AMD based on predictive value for severe disease in different populations.