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Racial difference in the prevalence of epiretinal membrane between Caucasians and Asians


Background/aims: To describe the prevalence and risk factors of epiretinal membranes (ERM) in Asian Malays and to compare this with a white population.

Methods: The Singapore Malay Eye Study examined 3280 persons (78.7% response rate) aged 40–80 years in Singapore during 2004–6. ERM were graded from retinal photographs using standardised procedures at the University of Sydney, and rates were compared with those from the Blue Mountains Eye Study (BMES).

Results: Of the 3,280 participants, 3,265 had sufficient quality photographs for grading. The age-standardised prevalence of ERM was 7.9% (95% CI 7.1 to 8.7%) in the Singapore Census population. The prevalence of ERM was higher in Malays than in Caucasians from the BMES (age-standardised prevalence: 15.8% (CI 14.2 to 17.2%) in Malays vs 6.8% (CI 5.9 to 7.6%) in Caucasians). Of the 384 persons with ERM, 124 (32.3%) had secondary ERM. Age, female gender, hyperopia and narrower retinal arteriolar diameter were associated with higher prevalence of ERM, after adjusting for age and/or gender.

Conclusions: The prevalence of ERM in Asian Malays was higher than that in the Caucasians. Risk factors for ERM were older age, female gender, hyperopic refraction and narrower retinal arteriolar diameter.

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