Macular degeneration, or age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is a medical condition that usually affects older adults and results in a loss of vision in the centre of the visual field (the macula) because of damage to the retina. It occurs in "dry" and "wet" forms. It is a major cause of blindness and visual impairment in older adults, afflicting 30-50 million people globally.
Macular degeneration can make it difficult or impossible to read or to recognize faces, although enough peripheral vision remains to allow other activities of daily life.
Macular degeneration is caused by genetic predisposition and cumulative environmental and lifestyle damage. There is no cure, no treatment that can restore lost vision, and no specific preventatives.
Macular degeneration has become increasingly common in developed nations in the last 30 years due to the rapid growth in the number of people over 75 and poses a significant health care challenge as it is the most common cause of vision loss in adults. About 10% of patients 66 to 74 years of age will have findings of macular degeneration. The prevalence increases to 30% in patients 75 to 85 years of age.
No medical or surgicaltreatmentisavailable for the « dry » form of AMD.
The "wet" form of advanced AMD, causes vision loss due to abnormal blood vessel growth (choroidal neovascularization). The proliferation of abnormal blood vessels in the retina is stimulated by vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Thus VEGF has been the target for numerous therapeutic strategies. Only about 10% of patients suffering from macular degeneration have the wet type.