Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Education, socio-economic status and age-related macular degeneration in Asians: the Singapore Malay Eye Study


Background/aims: Low socio-economic status is increasingly being identified as a risk marker for chronic diseases, but few studies have investigated the link between socio-economic factors and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The present study aimed to assess the association between socio-economic status and the prevalence of AMD.

Methods: A population-based cross-sectional study of 3280 (78.7% response rate) Malay adults aged 40–80 years residing in 15 south-western districts of Singapore. AMD was graded from retinal photographs at a central reading centre using the modified Wisconsin AMD scale. Early and late AMD signs were graded from retinal photographs following the Wisconsin grading system. Socio-economic status including education, housing type and income were determined from a detailed interview.

Results: Of the participants, 3265 had photographs of sufficient quality for grading of AMD. Early AMD was present in 168 (5.1%) and late AMD in 21 (0.6%). After adjusting for age, gender, smoking, hypertension, diabetes and body mass index, participants with lower educational levels were significantly more likely to have early AMD (multivariate OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.2 to 4.0). This association was stronger in persons who had never smoked (multivariate OR 3.6, 95% confidence CI 1.4 to 9.4). However, no association with housing type or income was seen.

Conclusions: Low educational level is associated with a higher prevalence of early AMD signs in our Asian population, independent of age, cardiovascular risk factors and cigarette smoking.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.