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Prevalence and Pattern of Geographic Atrophy in Asia

The Asian Eye Epidemiology Consortium

      Purpose

      Although there have been many population-based studies of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), only limited information is available in Asia on the epidemiology of geographic atrophy (GA). We aimed to determine the prevalence and patterns of GA through an analysis of multiple studies conducted within the Asian Eye Epidemiology Consortium (AEEC).

      Design

      Cross-sectional meta-analyses.

      Participants

      A total of 97 213 individuals aged 40 years and older.

      Methods

      Data from 22 population-based studies from countries belonging to the AEEC were included. In all studies, AMD was defined on the basis of standardized grading systems. Geographic atrophy was defined as an area of pallor in the fundus with visibility of the underlying choroidal blood vessels and sharply defined borders. Random-effects meta-analysis was performed to estimate overall and age-, gender-, and region-specific pooled prevalence of GA.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Prevalence of GA per 1000 persons.

      Results

      The mean age was 60.8 ± 10.0 years, and 42 673 (43.9%) were male. Overall, a total of 223 individuals (0.2%) had GA. The pooled overall prevalence of GA was 1.57 per 1000 persons (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.04–2.10), which was 3 times less than that of neovascular AMD of 5.20 per 1000 persons (95% CI, 3.97–6.43). Compared with those aged 50 to 59 years, the prevalence of GA increased from 0.34 per 1000 persons (95% CI, 0.07–0.62) to 2.90 per 1000 persons (95% CI, 1.55–4.25) in those aged ≥70 years. The GA prevalence per 1000 persons was similar between urban (2.22; 95% CI, 1.22–3.23) and rural residents (1.33; 95% CI, 0.70–1.96). Geographic atrophy was more prevalent in South Asia (based on studies from India and Nepal, 3.82 per 1000 persons; 95% CI, 1.72–5.93) compared with East Asia (based on studies from China, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan, and the Singapore Chinese Eye Study, 0.76 per 1000 persons; 95% CI, 0.31–1.22, P = 0.005).

      Conclusions

      Geographic atrophy is uncommon in Asian populations compared with those of European ancestry. Even within Asia, geographic differences in GA prevalence were seen. The findings of this meta-analysis suggest that better dissection of risk factors in the Asian population for GA may provide insights into the biological pathways that drive these late-stage manifestations, thus suggesting better targets for prevention.

      Abbreviations and Acronyms:

      AEEC (Asian Eye Epidemiology Consortium), AMD (age-related macular degeneration), CI (confidence interval), GA (geographic atrophy), KNHANES (Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey), OR (odds ratio), RPE (retinal pigment epithelium), SN-RAM Study (Sankara Nethralaya: Rural-Urban Age-Related Macular Degeneration Study), WARMGS (Wisconsin Age-Related Maculopathy Grading System)
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