Br J Ophthalmol doi:10.1136/bjo.2010.195370
  • Clinical science

Modelling the prevalence of age-related macular degeneration (2010–2020) in the UK: expected impact of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) therapy

  1. Parul Desai4
  1. 1Division of Epidemiology & Genetics, Institute of Ophthalmology, UCL, London, UK
  2. 2Department of Applied Social Studies, London Metropolitan University, London, UK
  3. 3UK Vision Strategy/Royal National Institute of Blind People, London, UK
  4. 4Medical Retina, Public Health, Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Darwin C Minassian, Institute of Ophthalmology, UCL, Bath Street, London EC1V 9EL, UK; d.minassian{at}
  • Accepted 26 December 2010
  • Published Online First 12 February 2011


Aims To project the number of cases with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and the numbers with attributable sight loss in the UK in 2010–2020, taking into account the expected beneficial effect of the new anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) therapies.

Methods A ‘system dynamics’ approach was used in constructing the model to simulate the dynamics of the disease in large populations. The model computed the pool of affected cases over the simulation period, taking into account the expected demographic changes. Other determinants taken into account included: prevalence; incidence; mortality; and the expected efficacy and coverage of anti-VEGF treatment.

Results In the UK, 608 213 persons in 2010 are estimated to have AMD, and this is expected to increase to 755 867 by the end of the decade. Numbers with sight loss from AMD are expected to rise from 223 224 in 2010 to 291 982 by 2020. Cases with sight loss due to neovascular AMD are expected to increase from 145 697 to 189 890 by the end of the decade.

Conclusions The model predicts that the beneficial effects of the treatment would be outweighed by the strong anticipated demographic ‘ageing’ effect. This reaffirms the importance of continuing efforts to develop more effective and more broadly applicable therapies for AMD.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Funding The study was funded by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

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