Nationwide epidemiologic survey on incidence of macular dystrophy in Japan

Jpn J Ophthalmol. 2024 May;68(3):167-173. doi: 10.1007/s10384-024-01060-8. Epub 2024 Apr 3.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to estimate the number of patients in Japan who had visited an ophthalmologist for macular dystrophy of various types, including Best vitelliform macular dystrophy (BVMD), Stargardt disease, occult macular dystrophy (OMD), cone (-rod) dystrophy, X-linked retinoschisis (XLRS), and central areolar choroid dystrophy (CACD).

Study design: Nationwide epidemiologic survey METHODS: Questionnaires were distributed to 965 major facilities, including all the university hospitals in Japan. The aim of the questionnaire was to determine the number of patients with each type of macular dystrophy who had visited an outpatient clinic during the past 5 years (January 2015 to December 2019).

Results: Over 70% of the patients were diagnosed and followed up at university hospitals. The estimated annual number of newly diagnosed cases was as follows: 55.3 for BVMD, 36.7 for Stargardt disease, 35.8 for OMD, 160.6 for cone (-rod) dystrophy, 31.0 for XLRS, 29.8 for CACD, and 174.1 for other types of macular dystrophy. The total number of patients with macular dystrophy diagnosed and followed at major institutions was estimated to be 6651.

Conclusion: This was the first nationwide survey of macular dystrophy in Japan and provided an approximate number of affected patients. The diagnosis of macular dystrophy is primarily carried out at facilities with affiliated specialists, such as university hospitals. By examining the incidence of multiple diseases simultaneously, we were able to compare the incidence of each type of macular dystrophy.

Keywords: Best vitelliform macular dystrophy; Macular dystrophy; Occult macular dystrophy; Prevalence; Stargardt disease.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Macular Degeneration* / diagnosis
  • Macular Degeneration* / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Visual Acuity
  • Young Adult