Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the third leading cause of blindness (behind cataract and refractive error). The authors present the results of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2015 study, which included 195 countries. The disability-adjusted life years (DALY) due to AMD was disproportionately distributed: it was largest in highly populated countries such as China, India and USA and lowest in Sub-Saharan countries. There was a 1.5 fold increase in DALY numbers due to AMD during the 25 years between 1990 and 2015. Age-standardised DALY rate was significantly associated with mean body mass index (BMI), serum cholesterol concentration, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, percent of mobile phone subscribers and urbanisation rate. Anti-VEGF agents have revolutionised the treatment of wet AMD and rescued the visual function of millions, but the DALY due to AMD has not improved. This is due to population growth, ageing structure and longer life expectancies. The disease remains more prevalent in females. These findings should raise the public concerns of the global AMD burden and should guide policy planning and investment in modifying risk factors such as physical inactivity and elevated BMI.

Disparities in the Global Burden of Age-Related Macular Degeneration: An Analysis of Trends from 1990 to 2015.
Wang D, Jiang Y, He M, et al.
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Kurt Spiteri Cornish

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, London, UK.

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