Eye Disease Grows as Seniors Age

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    A 1991 to 1999 study discovered that nearly half of the elderly develop 1 of 3 chronic eye diseases. The results were published in the Archives of Ophthalmology (September 2003). The occurrence of eye disease was found to be higher than in previous studies, and it will rise as the US population age 65 and older increases from 34 million in 2000 to 70 million in 2030, said study author Frank Sloan, PhD, of Duke University.

    In the study of >10,000 Medicare beneficiaries 65 years or older, over the 9- year period the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy rose from 7% to 17% of participants; the prevalence of glaucoma increased from 5% to 14%; and the prevalence of age-related macular degeneration rose from 5% to 27%.