Context: The Indian subcontinent is one of the most populous regions in the world. Given the projected rapid population growth and ageing of the population, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is likely to emerge as a major public health threat in the near future. However, existing literature on AMD in the region is scarce.
Methods: This paper reviews the epidemiology and risk factors of AMD in the Indian subcontinent.
Results: Data on AMD in India show prevalences ranging from 1.8% to 4.7%. Blindness prevalence studies in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal have also reported rates of 2.1% to 8.7% for all blindness attributable to AMD. Age-related macular degeneration is therefore a significant cause of visual morbidity in these countries. To date, no reliable epidemiological data on AMD or blindness have been published for Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Maldives or Bhutan.
Conclusions: The prevalence of AMD in the region is likely to follow a trend similar to that seen in the developed world in the coming years. Eye care policies should therefore make provisions for this chronic age-related eye disease. In addition, there is an urgent need for more data on the epidemiology of AMD in the Indian subcontinent.