Projected changes in age-related macular degeneration and driving license holders in Finland
Olli Viitanen,1 Olli Arjamaa2
1Department of Ophthalmology, University Central Hospital of Turku, Turku, Finland; 2Department of Biology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
Purpose: The aim of the study was to approximate the occurrence of all forms of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) of the retina among the driving license holders aged 80 or more, and to project the changes to 2030 in Finland. AMD, destroying the visual cells in the central part of the retina, is a common disease of older age: one out of three individuals aged 70 or older shows early signs of AMD progressing later to relentless loss of vision. This eye disease can be detected only by an ophthalmologist. In general, little is known about the prevalence of AMD among driving license holders aged 80 or older.
Methods: At first the prevalence of individuals with either drusen or AMD in Finland among those 80 or older was approximated. Then the number of license holders in this age group was extracted from the statistics of the Finnish Transport Safety Agency and Eurostat provided us with the demographical data. The changes were projected to 2030.
Results: In Finland, with a population of 5.35 million, the number of those aged 80 or over will increase by 175,000 by 2030. The total number of individuals with either drusen or AMD will increase from 118,000 to 193,000 by the year 2030 and an increasing proportion of them will have a driving license. The proportion of women in 2012 having a driving license in the groups 60 or younger is about 45%, while in those aged 80 or older it is only 20%.
Conclusion: The number of people aged 80 years or older will increase in Finland by 2030. The number of those in this age group having a driving license will increase more rapidly as the population ages because the proportion of women with a driving license will increase in this age group. As the prevalence of drusen and AMD among women aged 80 or over is higher than among men at comparable age, this means that AMD will increase even more rapidly among drivers in this age group.
Keywords: age-related macular degeneration, AMD, retina, driving license holders, Finland
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