Purpose: To evaluate possible risk factors for age-related maculopathy (ARM) in an epidemiologic cross-sectional population study of inhabitants 70 years of age or older in a rural area in Oulu County, Northern Finland.
Methods: Five hundred of the 560 (89 percent) eligible subjects were examined. The diagnosis of ARM was based on fundus photographs in 83 percent of the population or on ophthalmoscopic findings in 13 percent; in 4 percent, the fundi could not be seen. Both early and late forms of ARM were included.
Results: The prevalence of ARM increased steadily with age without overall significant difference between men and women. The condition was, however, related to high body mass index in men. The ARM appeared to be also associated with the presence of cataract, broad peripapillary atrophy, and severe sclerosis of the retinal arteries, but after controlling for age, these associations were nonsignificant. No association was found between ARM and systemic hypertension, diabetes, smoking, working outside, myopia, glaucoma, or the presence of exfoliation. In logistic regression analysis, age was the only statistically significant risk factor for ARM in both sexes. In men, a high body mass index also was found to be a predictor for ARM.
Conclusions: The presence of ARM was associated with cataract and signs of age-related vascular changes in the eyes. Of the general factors, age in both sexes and high body mass index in men were found to be the only predictors of ARM.