PURPOSE: Generalized retinal dystrophy is a frequent cause of visual impairment and blindness in younger individuals and a subject of new clinical intervention trials. Nonetheless, there are few nation-wide population-based epidemiological data of generalized retinal dystrophy. The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence and diagnostic spectrum of generalized retinal dystrophy in the Danish population. METHODS: A population-based cross-sectional study with data from the Danish Retinitis Pigmentosa Registry that comprises all patients in Denmark with generalized retinal and chorioretinal dystrophies from the 19th century to the present. Among 3076 registered cases, the primary diagnosis of generalized retinal dystrophy was assessed by chart review, including fundus photographs and electroretinograms. Demographic data on the Danish population were retrieved from Statistics Denmark. RESULTS: Of the 5,602,628 Danish citizens on January 1, 2013, 1622 patients were registered as having a generalized retinal dystrophy and were alive and living in Denmark, corresponding to a prevalence of 1:3,454. In 28% of cases the eye condition was part of a syndrome, while the remaining 72% had eye disease only. Aside from simplex cases (45%), the most common hereditary pattern was autosomal recessive (23%). CONCLUSION: This epidemiological survey demonstrates that the prevalence of generalized retinal dystrophy in the Danish population is 1:3454. Many of the dystrophies are the subjects of clinical intervention trials, and nation-wide epidemiological data can help assess the burden of the disease and the future need for treatment.
Ophthalmic Epidemiology, 2014, Vol 21, Issue 4, p. 217-23