Prevalence of age-related macular degeneration in 4 racial/ethnic groups in the multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis

Ophthalmology. 2006 Mar;113(3):373-80. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2005.12.013.


Objective: To describe the prevalence of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in 4 racial/ethnic groups (white, black, Hispanic, and Chinese) that participated in the second examination of the Multi-ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).

Design: Prospective cohort study.

Participants: Six thousand one hundred seventy-six 45- to 85-year-old subjects selected from 6 United States communities.

Methods: Fundus images were taken using a 45 degrees digital camera through dark-adapted pupils and were graded for drusen size, type, area, increased retinal pigment, retinal pigment epithelial depigmentation, neovascular lesions, and geographic atrophy using the modified Wisconsin Age-Related Maculopathy Grading System.

Main outcome measure: Age-related macular degeneration.

Results: Prevalences of AMD were 2.4% (black), 4.2% (Hispanic), 4.6% (Chinese), to 5.4% (white) (P<0.001 for any differences among groups). The highest prevalence of any AMD occurred in those 75 to 84 years old, varying from 7.4% in blacks to 15.8% in whites and Chinese (P = 0.03). Estimated prevalences of late AMD were 0.3% (black), 0.2% (Hispanic), 0.6% (white), and 1.0% (Chinese). These differences were marginally significant (age and gender adjusted, P = 0.08). The frequency of exudative AMD was highest in Chinese (age- and gender-adjusted odds ratio, 4.30; 95% confidence interval, 1.30-14.27) compared with whites. Differences in age, gender, pupil size, body mass index, smoking, alcohol drinking history, diabetes, and hypertension status did not explain the variability among the 4 racial/ethnic groups.

Conclusions: Low prevalences of AMD were found in the MESA cohort in all groups. A lower prevalence of AMD was found in blacks compared with whites. The higher prevalence of exudative AMD in Chinese needs further study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asian People / statistics & numerical data*
  • Atherosclerosis / ethnology
  • Black People / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Macular Degeneration / epidemiology*
  • Macular Degeneration / ethnology
  • Macular Degeneration / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Pupil
  • Sex Distribution
  • White People / statistics & numerical data*