Age-related macular degeneration

Justina Katelytė1, Rasa Liutkevičienė2

 1 Lithuanian University of Health Sciences. Academy of Medicine;

2Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, institute of Neuroscience, Ophthalmology laboratory


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease that causes irreversible visual impairment and significantly impairs the quality of life in older populations. With the aging of population, AMD will become globally an increasingly important and prevalent disease worldwide. AMD is a late-onset deterioration of photoreceptors and retinal pigment epithelium in the central retina caused by various environmental and genetic factors. Over the last decade, great progress has been made in identifying genetic variants that contribute to AMD, many of which lie in genes involved in the complement cascade. Genetic testing may be especially important in patients with a family history of AMD. The hallmark of early AMD is the formation of drusen, pigmentary changes at the macula, and mild to moderate vision loss. There are two forms of late AMD: the “dry” and the “wet” form that is less frequent but is responsible for 90% of acute blindness due to AMD.  Prophylactic measures, such as smoking cessation, healthy eating and antioxidant use are recommended for patients whom is at risk or with age-related macular degeneration. Early assessment of disease risk factors, symptoms, and treatment initiation may result in a halt to progression central vision deterioration. There is neither a cure nor treatment to prevent AMD. However, there are some treatments available for the wet form of AMD which can stop progression of visual loss. Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) agents represent the current standard of care for neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD). Although effective in a majority of cases, a significant proportion of patients have persisting retinal exudation despite regular anti-VEGF therapy. This exudation is considered to produce poorer visual outcomes in these patients. In this article, we will look at the risk factors, clinical manifestation, and current diagnostic and treatment options of age-related macular degeneration.

Key words: age-related macular degeneration, risk factors, diganostic, treatment.