Editorial: Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

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1*Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University, Eye- and Vision Center Optometrie Cagnolati GmbH

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the leading causes of blindness in the industrialized countries worldwide, accounting for 8.7%.1 Based on a systematic literature review, Wong et al. published in 2014 a pooled prevalence of 8.01% for early AMD, 0.37% for late AMD and 8.69% for any AMD in the age group 45-85 years. They also found a higher prevalence of early (11.2%) and any AMD (12.3%) in Europeans compared to Asians (6.8% and 7.4%).1
On the basis of a retrospective population-based study (119,877 persons), Zapata et al. determined an overall prevalence for AMD of 7.6% (9,129 persons affected) for Spain. The prevalence of early AMD was 2.9%, intermediate AMD 2.7% and advanced AMD 2.0%. Of the 9,129 people with AMD, 12.7% had geographic AMD and 11.9% had neovascular AMD. The prevalence in women was higher than in men.
Data collection for this study was interesting. The information was based on a collection of data from people who visited optometry centres in Spain between 2013 and 2019, where fundus images were obtained with a non-mydriatic fundus camera. The images were later analysed by twelve retinal specialists.2
According to a publication by Stahl in 2017, the proportion of people affected by early AMD in Germany is approximately seven million.3 Even though there is still only an approved therapy for wet (neovascular, exudative) age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in Germany, AMD should be detected at an early stage in order to adequately inform those affected about the disease. This includes reliable information about AMD and its prevention as well as possible medical and low-vision care.
In addition to ophthalmologists, optometrists and ophthalmic opticians are also called upon here, as they are often the first point of contact for those affected. After all, approximately 87% of the prescriptions for visual aids in Germany are made by this profession.4 
Especially in the case of AMD, a trustful cooperation between the members of both eye care professions is therefore in the interest of the affected patients. 
The present OCL issue is dedicated to the overall complex of AMD with four topic-related publications. The OCL Editorial Board is pleased to have found excellent authors from the fields of ophthalmology, optometry and social medicine / epidemiology. 
Learning is like rowing against the stream. As soon as you stop, you drift back. (Benjamin Britten) In this spirit, I wish you many new insights when reading this OCL issue.


[1] Wong, W. L., Su, X., Li, X., Cheung, C. M., Klein, R., Cheng, C. Y., Wong, T. Y. (2014). Global prevalence of age-related macular degeneration and disease burden projection for 2020 and 2040: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Glob. Health, 2e, 106-116.

[2] Zapata, M. A., Burés, A., Gallego-Pinazo, R., Gutiérrez-Sánchez, E., Oléñik, A., Pastor, S., Ruiz-Medrano, J., Salinas, C., Otero-­Romero, S., Abraldes, M. (2021). Prevalence of age-related macular degeneration among optometric telemedicine users in Spain: a retrospective nationwide population-based study. Graefes Arch. Clin. Exp. Ophthalmol., 259, 1993-2003.

[3] Stahl, A. (2020). The Diagnosis and Treatment of Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Dtsch. Arztebl. Int.,117, 513-520.

[4] Schmitz, S. (2023). Branchenbericht – Augenoptik in Zahlen. Zentralverband der Augenoptiker und Optometristen (ZVA). ZVA_Branchenbericht_2022_2023.pdf.