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Ophthalmology. 2011 Dec;118(12):2468-73. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2011.05.007. Epub 2011 Aug 4.

Prevalence and characteristics of choroidal nevi: the multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin 53726-2397, USA.



To describe the prevalence of choroidal nevi in 4 racial or ethnic groups (white, black, Hispanic, and Chinese) in the United States.


Cross-sectional study.


Participants of the second examination of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), involving 6176 persons 44 to 84 years of age without clinical cardiovascular disease at baseline selected from 6 United States communities.


Fundus images were taken using a 45° digital camera through dark-adapted pupils and were graded for choroidal nevi using the modified Wisconsin Age-Related Maculopathy Grading System and the Blue Mountains Eye Study protocol.


Choroidal nevi.


The overall prevalence of choroidal nevi in the whole cohort was 2.1%, with prevalences higher in whites (4.1%) than blacks (0.7%), Hispanics (1.2%), and Chinese (0.4%; P<0.001 for any differences among groups). The lowest prevalence of choroidal nevi occurred in those 75 to 84 years of age. The nevi were subfoveal in 4% of eyes with nevi and were not associated with a decrease in visual acuity. Characteristics of the nevi (size, shape, location, color, drusen on surface) did not differ among racial or ethnic groups. With the exception of associations with higher C-reactive protein levels (odds ratio [OR] per mg/dl on the logarithmic scale, 1.23; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.06-1.43; P = 0.01) and lower systolic blood pressure (OR per 10 mmHg, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.82-0.99; P = 0.04), choroidal nevi were not associated with other potential risk factors (e.g., gender, smoking status, alcohol consumption, lipid levels, coagulation factors, or kidney disease).


Low prevalences of choroidal nevi were found in the 4 groups participating in the MESA cohort, with whites having higher prevalence than the other racial or ethnic groups. The higher prevalence in whites than in other groups was not explained by any of the factors studied. When choroidal nevi were present, their characteristics did not differ among racial or ethnic groups.


The author(s) have no proprietary or commercial interest in any materials discussed in this article.

Copyright © 2011 American Academy of Ophthalmology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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