Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an acquired degeneration of the macula. It is a highly prevalent clinical entity, affecting about 2 million Americans, with over 3 million cases expected by 2030 and over 5 million by 2050.
Between 10% and 15% of all AMD is the “wet” variety, which describes the growth of new, abnormal blood vessels under the retina and macula. The tenuous nature of this new vessel development makes them prone to leak or bleed, which leads to the characteristic loss of central vision in individuals affected by wet AMD. Significantly, wet AMD accounts for 90% of all vision loss caused by AMD.
Advanced age is the most prominent risk factor for AMD, and researchers have identified several genetic and epigenetic factors that interact to affect the disease process.