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      How Vision Is Impaired From Aging to Early and Intermediate Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Insights From ALSTAR2 Baseline

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          Abstract

          Purpose

          We hypothesize the first visual dysfunction in transitioning to early and intermediate age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is delayed rod-mediated dark adaptation (RMDA), owing to impaired photoreceptor sustenance from the circulation. This analysis from the Alabama Study on Early Age-related Macular Degeneration 2 provides insight on our framework's validity, comparing RMDA and other visual tests among older normal, early, and intermediate AMD eyes.

          Methods

          AMD disease severity was determined via fundus photos using the Age-Related Eye Disease Study nine-step system. Visual functions evaluated were RMDA 5°, acuity, contrast sensitivity (photopic, mesopic), and light sensitivity for a macular grid (scotopic, mesopic, photopic). Presence versus absence of subretinal drusenoid deposits (SDD) was identified through multimodal imaging.

          Results

          One eye from each of 481 persons (mean age, 72 years) was evaluated. All visual functions were significantly worse with increasing AMD disease severity. Using z-scores to standardize visual function measures across groups, the greatest difference in probability density functions between older normal and intermediate AMD was for RMDA. Early and intermediate AMD eyes with SDD present had longer rod intercept times than eyes with SDD absent. SDD absent eyes also exhibited delayed RMDA and wide probability density functions relative to normal eyes.

          Conclusions

          Among the visual functions evaluated, RMDA best discriminates among normal, early AMD, and intermediate AMD eyes. The Alabama Study on Early Age-related Macular Degeneration 2 will evaluate whether AMD's natural history confirms our hypothesis at the 3-year follow-up.

          Translational Relevance

          Results support a sequence of visual function impairments in aging and AMD, suggesting RMDA as a promising outcome for evaluating interventions in early disease.

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          Most cited references54

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          Prevalence of age-related macular degeneration in the United States.

          To estimate the prevalence and distribution of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in the United States by age, race/ethnicity, and gender. Summary prevalence estimates of drusen 125 microm or larger, neovascular AMD, and geographic atrophy were prepared separately for black and white persons in 5-year age intervals starting at 40 years. The estimated rates were based on a meta-analysis of recent population-based studies in the United States, Australia, and Europe. These rates were applied to 2000 US Census data and to projected US population figures for 2020 to estimate the number of the US population with drusen and AMD. The overall prevalence of neovascular AMD and/or geographic atrophy in the US population 40 years and older is estimated to be 1.47% (95% confidence interval, 1.38%-1.55%), with 1.75 million citizens having AMD. The prevalence of AMD increased dramatically with age, with more than 15% of the white women older than 80 years having neovascular AMD and/or geographic atrophy. More than 7 million individuals had drusen measuring 125 microm or larger and were, therefore, at substantial risk of developing AMD. Owing to the rapidly aging population, the number of persons having AMD will increase by 50% to 2.95 million in 2020. Age-related macular degeneration was far more prevalent among white than among black persons. Age-related macular degeneration affects more than 1.75 million individuals in the United States. Owing to the rapid aging of the US population, this number will increase to almost 3 million by 2020.
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            Clinical classification of age-related macular degeneration.

            To develop a clinical classification system for age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Evidence-based investigation, using a modified Delphi process. Twenty-six AMD experts, 1 neuro-ophthalmologist, 2 committee chairmen, and 1 methodologist. Each committee member completed an online assessment of statements summarizing current AMD classification criteria, indicating agreement or disagreement with each statement on a 9-step scale. The group met, reviewed the survey results, discussed the important components of a clinical classification system, and defined new data analyses needed to refine a classification system. After the meeting, additional data analyses from large studies were provided to the committee to provide risk estimates related to the presence of various AMD lesions. Delphi review of the 9-item set of statements resulting from the meeting. Consensus was achieved in generating a basic clinical classification system based on fundus lesions assessed within 2 disc diameters of the fovea in persons older than 55 years. The committee agreed that a single term, age-related macular degeneration, should be used for the disease. Persons with no visible drusen or pigmentary abnormalities should be considered to have no signs of AMD. Persons with small drusen (<63 μm), also termed drupelets, should be considered to have normal aging changes with no clinically relevant increased risk of late AMD developing. Persons with medium drusen (≥ 63-<125 μm), but without pigmentary abnormalities thought to be related to AMD, should be considered to have early AMD. Persons with large drusen or with pigmentary abnormalities associated with at least medium drusen should be considered to have intermediate AMD. Persons with lesions associated with neovascular AMD or geographic atrophy should be considered to have late AMD. Five-year risks of progressing to late AMD are estimated to increase approximately 100 fold, ranging from a 0.5% 5-year risk for normal aging changes to a 50% risk for the highest intermediate AMD risk group. The proposed basic clinical classification scale seems to be of value in predicting the risk of late AMD. Incorporating consistent nomenclature into the practice patterns of all eye care providers may improve communication and patient care. Copyright © 2013 American Academy of Ophthalmology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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              Human photoreceptor topography.

              We have measured the spatial density of cones and rods in eight whole-mounted human retinas, obtained from seven individuals between 27 and 44 years of age, and constructed maps of photoreceptor density and between-individual variability. The average human retina contains 4.6 million cones (4.08-5.29 million). Peak foveal cone density averages 199,000 cones/mm2 and is highly variable between individuals (100,000-324,000 cones/mm2). The point of highest density may be found in an area as large as 0.032 deg2. Cone density falls steeply with increasing eccentricity and is an order of magnitude lower 1 mm away from the foveal center. Superimposed on this gradient is a streak of high cone density along the horizontal meridian. At equivalent eccentricities, cone density is 40-45% higher in nasal compared to temporal retina and slightly higher in midperipheral inferior compared to superior retina. Cone density also increases slightly in far nasal retina. The average human retina contains 92 million rods (77.9-107.3 million). In the fovea, the average horizontal diameter of the rod-free zone is 0.350 mm (1.25 degrees). Foveal rod density increases most rapidly superiorly and least rapidly nasally. The highest rod densities are located along an elliptical ring at the eccentricity of the optic disk and extending into nasal retina with the point of highest density typically in superior retina (5/6 eyes). Rod densities decrease by 15-25% where the ring crosses the horizontal meridian. Rod density declines slowly from the rod ring to the far periphery and is highest in nasal and superior retina. Individual variability in photoreceptor density differs with retinal region and is similar for both cones and rods. Variability is highest near the fovea, reaches a minimum in the midperiphery, and then increases with eccentricity to the ora serrata. The total number of foveal cones is similar for eyes with widely varying peak cone density, consistent with the idea that the variability reflects differences in the lateral migration of photoreceptors during development. Two fellow eyes had cone and rod numbers within 8% and similar but not identical photoreceptor topography.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Transl Vis Sci Technol
                Transl Vis Sci Technol
                TVST
                Translational Vision Science & Technology
                The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
                2164-2591
                21 July 2022
                July 2022
                : 11
                : 7
                : 17
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, Heersink School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA
                [2 ]Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Cynthia Owsley, Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, Heersink School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1670 University Boulevard, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA. e-mail: cynthiaowsley@ 123456uabmc.edu
                Article
                TVST-22-4490
                10.1167/tvst.11.7.17
                9315068
                35861686
                b871c102-23f5-43eb-8ff9-5caf0ba74dc1
                Copyright 2022 The Authors

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

                History
                : 21 June 2022
                : 11 February 2022
                Page count
                Pages: 13
                Categories
                Retina
                Retina

                aging,age-related macular degeneration,dark adaptation,visual function

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