PURPOSE. To assess the prevalence of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in a rural population in Northern India. METHODS. In a pilot feasibility study, 1443 people (median age, 60 years; 52% women), were identified from enumeration of the 50+ age group in 11 randomly sampled villages from a rural, periurban district of Haryana, Northern India. Of those identified, 87% attended an eye examination that included digital fundus photography. Fundus images were graded at a single reading center using definitions from the Wisconsin Age-Related Maculopathy Grading System. RESULTS. Fundus photographs were available for 1101 participants. Overall, 28.8% of participants had ungradable fundus images due to cataract. Including all with ungradable images in the denominator, the prevalence of soft drusen was 34.0% (95% confidence interval [CI] 26.1–42.9); of soft indistinct drusen, 2.2% (95% CI, 1.1–4.4); and of pigmentary irregularities, 10.8% (95% CI, 7.1–16.1). There were 15 (1.4%) cases of late-stage AMD (95% CI, 0.8–2.3) with the prevalence rising from 0.4% in the 50- to 59-year age range to 4.6% in those aged 70 years or older. CONCLUSIONS. Drusen and pigmentary irregularities are common among the rural northern Indian population. The prevalence of late AMD is similar to that encountered in Western settings and is likely to contribute significantly to the burden of vision loss in older people in the developing world.
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