Age-related macular degeneration

Vaida Punytė¹, Karolina Slapšytė¹, Danielius Umbrasas¹,² 

¹ Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine

² Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Neuroscience Institute


Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is a condition, characterized by irreversible loss of central vision and progressing degeneration of photoreceptors in the macula. AMD is the third leading cause of blindness in the world. The prevalence of this disease is greatly increased in people older than 75 years old. Pathogenesis of AMD is not entirely clear but it is generally agreed that important factors for AMD development are accumulation of drusen, oxidative stress and mutations in the complement system. Clinically AMD is classified into early AMD (characterized by small to medium-sized drusen and changes in retinal pigments), intermediate and advanced AMD (characterized by large-sized drusen). Advanced AMD is further classified into exudative (wet) and non-exudative (dry) AMD. Patients who have AMD feel progressing or acute decrease in visual acuity, metamorphopsias and scotomas. Currently there is no effective treatment for dry AMD. To prevent the progression of dry AMD to wet AMD, it is recommended to take supplements of antioxidants and minerals (carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and copper). Intraocular injections of vascular endothelial growth factor inhibitors are an effective treatment of wet AMD. The sooner treatment is applied, the better results are achieved. In this article we review epidemiology, pathogenesis, risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of AMD.

Keywords: age-related macular degeneration, risk factors, diagnostic, treatment, lutein, zeaxanthin, oxidative stress.