(RxWiki News) University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health researchers have determined prevalence of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) has decreased in recent years.
Ronald Klein, M.D., M.P.H., and colleagues looked at data from the 2005-to-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and compared AMD rates to the previous set of date covering 1988 to 1994. They looked at a total of 7,081 individuals aged 40 and over and assessed them for signs of AMD, including drusen (deposits in the retina), pigment changes and atrophy in the retina and surrounding tissue.
Overall the researchers found a decrease in the prevalence of AMD from 9.4 percent (reported in the 1988-to-1994 data) to an estimated 6.5 percent. Non-Hispanic white individuals age 60 and older had a higher prevalence of AMD than non-Hispanic black individuals of the same age.
The researchers suggested changes in smoking habits and other exposures to the disease such as diet, physical activity and blood pressure may play a role in the diminishing rate of the disease.
Despite these encouraging findings and advancements in treatments for the disease, AMD remains a leading cause of blindness in individuals over 50 throughout the United States.
About 1.75 million Americans have AMD, according to the National Eye Institute.