Aims: To determine the prevalence, associations and risk factors for age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) in central Sri Lanka.
Methods: Population-based, cross-sectional survey of the residents aged 40 years and older in rural Sri Lanka. ARMD was assessed on dilated fundoscopy using the International Age Related Maculopathy Epidemiology Study Group classification system.
Results: Of the 1721 subjects identified, 1375 participated (79.9%). Of the participants, 1013 were aged 50 years or older (73.6%). The prevalence of any ARMD (adjusted for study design) was 4.72% (95%CI: 2.22% - 7.20%) with 3.82% (95%CI: 1.60 – 6.04%) early ARMD and 1.70% (95%CI: 0.14 – 3.27%) late ARMD. Age (p<0.001) and Sinhalese ethnicity (p=0.016) were significantly associated with ARMD. Males had a tendency toward higher prevalence of ARMD than females; however this was not statistically significant (p=0.081). Ocular risk factors such as cortical cataract (p=0.024) and pseudophakia (p=0.003) were associated with ARMD on the univariate but not multivariate analyses. Illiteracy and the identification of social supports were significantly associated with ARMD on univariate analyses; however only social support was statistically significant after multivariate analysis (p=0.024).
Conclusions: Although the prevalence of ARMD is slightly lower in Sri Lanka than surrounding regions, it contributes to a higher proportion of visual impairment, including blindness. Risk factors include age and Sinhalese ethnicity.