Racial/ethnic differences in age-related maculopathy. Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

Ophthalmology. 1995 Mar;102(3):371-81. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(95)31012-3.


Purpose: To investigate the prevalence of age-related maculopathy in three racial/ethnic groups, non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, and Mexican Americans.

Methods: People 40 years of age or older who participated in a nationally representative population-based sample of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were examined from 1988 to 1991. Age-related maculopathy was determined by grading of fundus photographs using a standardized protocol for a sample of 4007 persons.

Results: The prevalence of any age-related maculopathy in the civilian noninstitutionalized United States population including those 40 years of age or older was 9.2% as estimated from the sample. Prevalence was higher in non-Hispanic whites (9.3%) compared with non-Hispanic blacks (7.4%) and Mexican Americans (7.1%). Before 60 years of age, Mexican Americans (odds ratio [OR], 1.53; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.0-2.35) and non-Hispanic blacks (OR, 1.59; 95% CI, 0.86-2.95) had a greater chance of having any maculopathy than non-Hispanic whites; thereafter, Mexican Americans (OR, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.44-0.90) and non-Hispanic blacks (OR, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.37-0.68) had a lesser chance than non-Hispanic whites.

Conclusion: These survey data indicate that age-related maculopathy is prevalent in all groups studied. Differences among the racial/ethnic groups vary by age and sex.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blacks*
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Macula Lutea / pathology
  • Macular Degeneration / ethnology*
  • Macular Degeneration / pathology
  • Male
  • Mexican Americans*
  • Middle Aged
  • Photography
  • Prevalence
  • Racial Groups
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Whites