Incidence of Late-Stage Age-Related Macular Degeneration in American Whites: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Am J Ophthalmol. 2015 Jul;160(1):85-93.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2015.04.003. Epub 2015 Apr 6.


Purpose: To estimate incidence of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by subtype in American whites aged ≥50 years.

Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Setting: Prospective cohort studies of AMD incidence in populations of white European ancestry published in MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Web of Science.

Study population: Fourteen publications in 10 populations that examined AMD incident cases were identified.

Observation procedure: Data on age-sex-specific incidence of late AMD, geographic atrophy (GA) and neovascular AMD (NVAMD), year of recruitment, AMD grading method, and continent were extracted.

Main outcome measure(s): Annual incidence of late AMD, GA, and NVAMD by age-sex in American whites aged ≥50 years from a Bayesian meta-analysis of incidence studies was compared with incidence extrapolated from published prevalence estimates.

Results: Incidence rates from the review agreed with those derived from prevalence, but the latter were based on more data, especially at older ages and by AMD subtypes. Annual incidence (estimated from prevalence) of late AMD in American whites was 3.5 per 1000 aged ≥50 years (95% credible interval 2.5, 4.7 per 1000), equivalent to 293 000 new cases in American whites per year (95% credible interval 207 000, 400 000). Incidence rates approximately quadrupled per decade in age. Annual incidence GA rates were 1.9 per 1000 aged ≥50 years, NVAMD rates were 1.8 per 1000. Late AMD incidence was 38% higher in women vs men (95% credible interval 6%, 82%).

Conclusions: Estimating AMD incidence from prevalence allows better characterization at older ages and by AMD subtype where longitudinal data from incidence studies are limited.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Geographic Atrophy / ethnology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sex Distribution
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Wet Macular Degeneration / ethnology*
  • Whites*