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The Los Angeles Latino Eye Study (LALES) was conducted to determine the age- and gender-specific prevalence of dry age-related macular degeneration and wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in the Latino population. It evaluated 6,357 Latinos, ages 40 and older, from six census tracts in the city.

Subjects were all self-identified Latinos. A complete ophthalmologic exam was performed, including stereoscopic macular photographs. These photos were then graded using a modified version of the Wisconsin Age-Related Maculopathy Grading System.

Of the 6,357 participants who were interviewed and underwent clinical examination, 5,875 (75%) had gradable photographs. From the ages of 40-49, none of the Latino subjects had wet AMD. By the age of 80, the prevalence of wet AMD increased to 8.5%. In cases of dry AMD, prevalence increased from 6.2% within the age group of 40-49 to 29.7% prevalence by age 80.

Dry AMD was found to be significantly more common in the male subjects than the female subjects. Of all the participants afflicted with dry AMD or wet AMD, only 57% reported to have ever visited an eye care practitioner, and only 21% had been in the past year.

In conclusion, although the rates of dry AMD were relatively high in the Latino population, corresponding rates of wet AMD were not high. A call to action is made for further research on the progression of dry AMD in the Latino population [1].


[1] Varma, R., Fraser-Bell, S., Tan, S., Klein, R., & Azen, S. P. (2004). Prevalence of age-related macular degeneration in Latinos. Ophthalmology, 111(7), 1288–1297. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ophtha.2004.01.023

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