Vision with AMD
AMD is the leading cause of blindness in people over 50 years of age. It is a slow progressive disease of the macula, the central part of the retina. The macula is responsible for focusing vision and controls the ability to read, drive a car, recognize faces or colors, and see objects in fine detail.
AMD is a massive problem affecting approximately 1 in 4 people over the age of 70, increasing to 1 in 3 people over the age of 80. Globally, AMD is predicted to affect approximately 196 million people by 2020. As the aging population continues to grow so will the number of patients afflicted with AMD.
Normal retina with the macula and fovea identified.
Growth of Age-Related Macular Degeneration from 2000 to 2010 in the U.S.
Dry AMD is associated with yellow deposits in the retina called drusen. As the disease progresses these deposits can enlarge (called soft drusen) and grow together along with the presence of pigment changes within the macula. In advanced cases of dry AMD atrophy occurs in the center of the macula in a geographic configuration that is called geographic atrophy (GA). The formation of GA is the greatest cause of vision loss in patients with dry AMD. There is currently no FDA approved treatment to prevent its formation or slow the progression GA.
Soft, yellow drusen (white arrows) in the macula of an eye with intermediate or moderate dry AMD. A large confluent drusen (blue arrow) is present in the fovea with some linear pigment formation.
Advanced Dry AMD with well defined geographic atrophy (white arrows) involving most of the macula.
Wet AMD is an advanced form of AMD that is associated with new blood vessel growth called choroidal neovascularization (CNV). CNV causes vision loss from the accumulation of fluid and blood in the macula. Left untreated the abnormal blood vessel will scar leading to permanent vision loss. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZe7VxtuQB0). The progression of wet AMD can be treated with monthly injections in the eye of Lucentis® (ranibizumab), Eylea® (aflibercept), or Avastin® (bevacizumab). These drugs are FDA approved and block blood vessel growth factors called VEGF.
Hemorrhage in the macula in an eye with Wet AMD.
Video of the progression from normal to Dry AMD followed by the formation of Wet AMD.