The prevalence of age-related macular degeneration in Asians: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Ophthalmology. 2010 May;117(5):921-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2009.10.007. Epub 2010 Jan 27.


Objective: To determine the prevalence of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in Asian populations and to compare this with prevalence in white populations.

Design: A clear understanding of AMD prevalence in Asians is essential to meet future demands for eye health care.

Methods: We searched published literature reporting AMD prevalence in Asian populations. We limited studies examined to those using standardized grading systems (either the Wisconsin Age-Related Maculopathy Grading System or the international classification proposed by the International ARM Epidemiological Study Group). We used metaanalytical methods to calculate age-specific pooled prevalence of AMD using inverse-variance weighting in a random effect model. We also calculated pooled estimates of age-standardized prevalence. A metaregression model was used to examine gender differences and differences between Asian and white populations.

Results: We identified 9 studies reporting AMD prevalence from 4 Asian populations. Pooled prevalence estimates of early and late AMD in Asian populations aged 40 to 79 years were 6.8% (95% confidence interval [CI], 4.6%-8.9%) and 0.56% (95% CI, 0.30%-0.81%), respectively; corresponding prevalence estimates in white populations were 8.8% (95% CI, 3.8%-13.8%) and 0.59% (95% CI, 0.35%-0.84%), respectively. Reliable prevalence estimates of AMD in Asian persons aged > or =80 years were not available owing to small subject numbers in this age category.

Conclusions: Among persons aged 40 to 79 years, the age-specific prevalence of late AMD in Asians was comparable with that reported from white populations, but early AMD signs were less common among Asians. Further studies in Asian populations are warranted to investigate whether certain specific AMD phenotypes or subtypes, such as polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy, are more common.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asians / ethnology*
  • Far East / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Macular Degeneration / ethnology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenotype
  • Prevalence
  • Whites / ethnology