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עמוד בית
Wed, 19.06.24

Original Articles

IMAJ | volume 9

Journal 9, September 2007
pages: 656-658

Ethnic Background as a Risk Factor for Advanced Age-Related Macular Degeneration in Israel

    Summary

    Background: Age-related macular degeneration is the most common cause of legal blindness in the developed world including Israel. Ethnic background is a risk factor for advanced AMD[1] in several populations, however the relative prevalence of this disease in different ethnic groups in the Middle East is unknown.

    Objectives: To compare the prevalence of advanced AMD in Arabs and Jews in Israel.

    Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of two independent groups of patients: the first group comprised a sequential series of Jerusalem residents who underwent photodynamic therapy for neovascular AMD (PDT[2] group), and the second group consisted of all individuals in Jerusalem who received a blind certificate due to AMD (legal blindness group). Control groups were assessed to exclude inherited ethnic associated bias in the two study groups.

    Results: The PDT group included 146 patients: 142 were Jews (97.3%) and 4 were Arabs (2.7%). The legal blindness group included 340 Jerusalem residents: 326 Jews (96%) and 14 Arabs (4%). The number of Arab AMD patients in the two groups was lower than expected based on the ethnic composition of the age-matched Jerusalem population (P = 0.0002 for the PDT group, and P < 0.0001 for the legal blindness group). By contrast, the number of non-AMD Arab patients who were treated in the same clinic and the number of Arabs who received a blind certificate for diabetic retinopathy was not different from expected based on their relative number in the Jerusalem population.

    Conclusions: Advanced AMD is less common in the Arab than the Jewish population of Jerusalem. Genetic and environmental factors may account for this difference. A population-based study is required to assess the overall prevalence of AMD in Jews and Arabs.



    [1] AMD = age-related macular degeneration
    [2] PDT = photodynamic therapy

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