August 23, 2018
1 min read

Study predicts swift increase in visual impairment due to myopic macular degeneration

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Global patterns of visual impairment associated with myopic macular degeneration are estimated to escalate before 2050, according to a systematic review, meta-analysis and modeling.

Data from 17 papers with prevalence data for myopic macular degeneration (MMD) visual impairment (VI) and six papers with age-specific data were meta-analyzed for prevalence, variances and age-specific relative risks in 10-year age groups from 0 to 90+ years.

Data was then statistically analyzed through equations based on primary evidence to cover 73% of the global population and to calculate country-specific proportions of high myopes who have visual impairments and blindness associated with MMD. It was also compared with the prevalence of high myopia for each country and the meta-analyzed 0 to 90+ years age distribution of visual impairment and MMD-associated blindness.

Crude and age-standardized all-ages prevalence of visual impairment and blindness associated with MMD was calculated for each Global Burden of Disease region.

Projections for each decade to 2050 were based on change in high myopia age demographics and population and assumed a constant proportion of MMD VI-to-high myopia ratio.

According to the study, estimated age distribution of global MMD blindness prevalence rises exponentially with age in both the 2000 and 2050 decades, but in the 2050 decade, ratio is scaled upwards due to an increased spread of high myopia from younger groups in 2000 through all ages by 2050. In 2000, MMD VI was estimated to affect 4.2 million people worldwide, and MMD blindness was estimated to affect 1.3 million people.

Based on demographics and aging of population, the study estimates an exponential growth of MMD VI cases up to 55.7 million, with 18.5 million cases of MMD blindness.

The authors pointed out that such a high increase of VI MMD and MMD blindness in the next decades will have a significant quality of life and socioeconomic impact, as well as important implications for the planning of eye care services globally

“Methods to reduce the development of myopia, progression to high myopia and management of MMD are all warranted to reduce expected burden,” they wrote. – by Michela Cimberle

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.