The prevalence of age-related maculopathy: The visual impairment project

Mylan R. VanNewkirk, Mukesh B. Nanjan, Jie Jin Wang, Paul Mitchell, Hugh R. Taylor, Cathy A. McCarty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

214 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine the prevalence of age-related maculopathy (ARM) lesions in residents of the state of Victoria, Australia. Design: Population-based cross-sectional study. Participants: Total of 5147 residential and institutionalized persons aged 40 years and older, living in Victoria. Methods: Participants were recruited through a cluster, stratified, random sampling from nine urban clusters and four rural clusters. The presence of ARM lesions was graded from color stereo fundus photographs as well as slit-lamp stereo biomicroscopy according to the International Classification and Grading System. Main Outcome Measures: The presence of ARM lesions. Results: The mean age of participants was 60.2 years, and 55% were females. Gradable fundus photographs were available for at least one eye in 4345 (92%) of the participants. The weighted prevalence of neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD) was 0.39% (95% confidence limits [CL] = 0.20, 0.58), atrophic AMD was 0.27% (95% CL = 0.04, 0.50), and total AMD was 0.68% (95% CL = 0.30, 1.1). Prevalence of AMD was strongly related to age (P < 0.001). Prevalence of early ARM was 15.1% (95% CL = 13.7, 16.4). Large drusen, 125 μm or more, were present in 6.3% of the participants. There was a higher prevalence of soft distinct drusen (7.5%) than soft indistinct drusen (4.3%). Retinal pigmentary abnormalities were present in 8.2% (95% CL = 7.2, 9.2). The prevalence of large drusen, soft drusenm, and pigmentary abnormalities increased with age (P < 0.001). Prevalence of retinal pigmentary abnormalities increased with increasing drusen size (P < 0.001). Soft indistinct drusen were more common in women aged 70 years or older (P < 0.001). Bilaterality of any ARM was strongly age related, and women appeared to have a higher risk of both bilateral early ARM and AMD. Conclusions: These data provide age- and gender-specific prevalence of ARM and its component lesions in an ethnically diverse Australian population. Early ARM and AMD prevalence rates increased sharply from ages 70 and 80 years, respectively, in all ethnic groups. These higher rates will continue to increase the importance of AMD as our population ages. (C) 2000 by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1593-1600
Number of pages8
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Visual Impairment Project was funded in part by grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council, Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, the estate of the late Dorothy Edols, Ophthalmic Research Institute of Australia, Ansell Ophthalmology Foundation, and Jack Brockhoff Foundation.


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