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Highlights from the August 2008 issue of Ophthalmology
Date:8/1/2008

SAN FRANCISCO, CA The August issue of Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, includes surprising findings on Asian ethnicity and macular degeneration and on nearsightedness in school children, as well as a study of successful treatments for ocular surface cancer.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) in an Asian Population

AMD erodes and can eventually destroy the central vision needed for reading, driving, and other daily tasks. When AMD risk levels among racial and ethnic groups are compared, Caucasians are usually identified as at highest risk. Asians in particular have been assumed to have lower risk. Recently Ryo Kawasaki, MD, and colleagues compared the prevalence of early and late AMD in approximately 4,000 residents of Funagata, Japan, to the rate in white participants in the Australian Blue Mountains Eye Study (BMES); diagnostic definitions were identical in the two studies and age standardization enhanced data comparability. Importantly, the Funagata study is the first in a Japanese population to confirm a link between smoking and AMD prevalence.

The overall AMD prevalence rate in right eyes was 4.1 percent for the Funagata study, very close to the BMES rate of 4.4.percent. Prevalence of late AMD in men was also comparable for the two groups, 1.1 percent for Funagata participants and 1.2 percent for BMES, but was markedly different for the two groups of women: 0.3 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively. The authors note that these findings need to be confirmed by larger studies in Asian populations. Two earlier studies also found a higher prevalence of late AMD in Asian men, in contrast with most studies in Caucasians where rates are higher for women. The authors think a key reason may be that 36.8 percent of the Funagata men smoked, but only 2.8 percent of the women. In the BMES study, 14.4 percent of women were smokers. While many Asian men smoke, the habit is less socially acceptab
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Contact: Mary Wade
mwade@aao.org
415-447-0221
American Academy of Ophthalmology
Source:Eurekalert

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