Prevalence of age-related macular degeneration in a large European cohort: Results from the population-based Gutenberg Health Study

  • Christina A. Korb
  • Ulrike B. Kottler
  • Christian Wolfram
  • René Hoehn
  • Andreas Schulz
  • Isabella Zwiener
  • Philipp S. Wild
  • Norbert Pfeiffer
  • Alireza Mirshahi
Retinal Disorders

DOI: 10.1007/s00417-014-2591-9

Cite this article as:
Korb, C.A., Kottler, U.B., Wolfram, C. et al. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol (2014) 252: 1403. doi:10.1007/s00417-014-2591-9

Abstract

Background

The aim of this study was to describe the sex- and age-specific prevalence of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and its correlation with urban or rural residence in a large and relatively young European cohort.

Methods

We evaluated fundus photographs from participants in the Gutenberg Health Study (GHS), a population-based, prospective, observational, single-centre study in the Rhineland-Palatine region in midwestern Germany. The participants were 35–74 years of age at enrolment. The fundus images were classified as described in the Rotterdam Study and were graded independently by two experienced ophthalmologists (CK and UBK) based on the presence of hard and soft drusen, retinal pigmentary abnormalities, and signs of atrophic or neovascular age-related macular generation (AMD).

Results

Photographs from 4,340 participants were available for grading. Small, hard drusen (<63 μm, stages 0b and 0c) were present in 37.4 % of participants (95 % confidence interval [CI], stage 0b, 31.6 % [30.3–33.7]; stage 0c, 5.8 % [5.1–6.5]). Early AMD (soft drusen, pigmentary abnormalities, stages 1–3) was present in 3.8 % of individuals in the youngest age group (35–44 years) (95 % CI, stage 1a, 0.4 % [0.3–0.5 %]; stage 1b, 3.2 % [2.9–3.5 %]; stage 2a, 0.1 % [0.1–0.2 %]; stage 2b, 0 % [0–0.0 %]; stage 3, 0.1 % [0.1–0.2 %]), whereas late AMD (stages 4a and 4b) did not appear in the youngest age group. In all age groups, signs of early AMD were detected in 11.9 % of individuals (stage 1a, 2.1 % [1.7–2.6]; stage 1b, 8.0 % [7.2–8.8]; stage 2a, 1.0 % [0.7–1.3]; stage 2b, 0.5 % [0.3–0.7]; stage 3, 0.3 % [0.2–0.6]). Late AMD (geographic atrophy or neovascular AMD) was found in 0.2 % of individuals (stage 4a, 0.1 % [0.0–0.2]; stage 4b, 0.1 % [0.0–0.2]). AMD increased significantly with age (odds ratio [OR], 1.09; 95 % CI, 1.08–1.10). Sex, iris colour, and residence (rural vs. urban) were not associated with different rates of AMD.

Conclusions

In this study, the prevalence of AMD increased dramatically with age; however, although AMD is usually thought to occur after age 50, signs of early AMD were found in 3.8 % of individuals in the youngest age group (younger than 45 years). This population-based sample is the first to provide substantial epidemiologic data from a large German cohort, including data on macular degeneration in younger age groups and incidence data after recall.

Keywords

Age-related macular degeneration Age-related maculopathy Epidemiology Prevalence Population-based study 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christina A. Korb
    • 1
  • Ulrike B. Kottler
    • 1
  • Christian Wolfram
    • 1
  • René Hoehn
    • 1
  • Andreas Schulz
    • 3
  • Isabella Zwiener
    • 2
  • Philipp S. Wild
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Norbert Pfeiffer
    • 1
  • Alireza Mirshahi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of OphthalmologyUniversity Medical Center, Johannes Gutenberg-University MainzMainzGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Medical Biostatistics, Epidemiology and InformaticsUniversity Medical Center, Johannes Gutenberg-University MainzMainzGermany
  3. 3.Department of Medicine IIUniversity Medical Center, Johannes Gutenberg-University MainzMainzGermany
  4. 4.Center for Thrombosis and HemostasisUniversity Medical Center, Johannes Gutenberg-University MainzMainzGermany
  5. 5.German Center for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK)University Medical Center, Johannes Gutenberg-University MainzMainzGermany

Personalised recommendations