Background/Aims Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the main cause of visual impairment and blindness in Europe. A further increase in the number of affected persons is expected and current European data are needed for healthcare resource planning.
Methods We performed a systematic review on the prevalence and incidence of AMD based on the meta-analysis of observational studies in epidemiology guideline. Meta-analysis and meta-regression on time-trends, age, countries, regions, sex and classification systems for AMD were performed. Based on Eurostat population projections, the pooled prevalence estimates were extrapolated to the year 2050.
Results Twenty-two prevalence and four incidence studies published since 1996 were included. Our pooled prevalence estimate of early or intermediate AMD and any late AMD in those 60 years and older was 25.3% (95% CI 18.0% to 34.4%) and 2.4% (95% CI 1.8% to 3.3%), respectively. A significant increase in prevalence was seen in older populations. In the meta-analysis of incidence, the pooled annual incidence of any late AMD was 1.4 per 1 000 individuals (95% CI 0.8 to 2.6). Overall, the number of EU inhabitants with any late AMD is expected to increase from 67 to 77 million until 2050. Incident late AMD is estimated to increase from 400 000 per year today to 700 000 per year in 2050.
Conclusions Approximately 67 million people in the EU are currently affected by any AMD and, due to population ageing, this number is expected to increase by 15% until 2050. Monitoring and treatment of people with advanced disease stages will require additional healthcare resources and thorough healthcare planning in the years and decades to come.
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