As one of the country's leading centers for AMD research, the Emory Eye Center has a profound commitment to studying the disease and translating clinical findings into macular degeneration treatment for patients. Over the past decade, Emory brought together a nationally recognized team of physicians and scientists to work closely on the study and treatment of AMD.
These physicians work hand-in-hand with research scientists with expertise in molecular genetics, immunology, drug delivery, cell biology, ocular pathology, pharmacology, and biochemistry.
Clinical research has included antioxidants, new drug delivery systems, retinal cell transplantation, gene therapy, and retinal translocation surgery.
Age-related macular degeneration Age related macular degeneration, also called AMD, is the deterioration of the center of the retina, called the macula, the area of the eye responsible for central vision.
Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in Americans over age 55 and affects about one-third of all Americans over age 65. Because older people make up the fastest growing segment of our population, macular degeneration is a significant public health issue.
Symptoms The most significant symptom of AMD is blurred or distorted central vision. Over time AMD can affect vision by forming a blurred, darkened or empty area in the center of vision.
Located in the center of the retina, the macula is the size of this “o” and is the critical area we use for reading and central vision. The disease leads to loss of central vision and can make it impossible for affected individuals to drive, read and care for themselves.
There are two forms of late AMD: the nonexudative, or dry form, accounting for 80-90% of affected patients, or the exudative, or wet form, which affects about 10% of patients.
The dry form of AMD Patients with early forms of the disease may not experience any macular degeneration symptoms. They may have drusen, or yellowish deposits underneath the retina. Patients with later forms of the disease may experience a loss of central vision and may view straight objects, such as doorways or lines of print, as wavy or curved.
Dry form of AMD The most common form of AMD is called the dry form. This form of the disease affects up to 90% of AMD patients. In the early stages of dry AMD, small deposits called drusen start appearing within the retina.n
The wet form of AMD One-fourth of all Americans over age 75 have the wet form of AMD and can significantly damage vision. Wet AMD can cause the pigment epithelium underneath the retina to detach, distorting vision. In addition, abnormal capillaries originating from the layer behind the retina called the choroid may form and leak fluid and blood underneath the retina. The choroid's blood vessels, combined with tissue, can form a scar-like membrane under the retina and block central vision. This membrane is called a choroidal neovascularization membrane (CNVM). A majority of patients with severe vision loss from AMD have CNVM.
Wet form of AMD A less common but more serious form of AMD is called the wet form. In the wet form, abnormal blood vessels begin to develop underneath the retina. These may bleed or leak fluid.n
Emory Eye Center is the first in Georgia to offer a new technology (IMT) proven to help the vision of some patients with end-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD). See YouTube video (above) and read about this technology in Emory Eye magazine (pdf), 2012-13, p 22.
AMD is a disease associated with aging that gradually destroys sharp central vision.
If you or someone you know has Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), you should be aware of an important study called the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS). The study reports the beneficial effect of antioxidants (Vitamin C, E, beta-carotene and zinc-copper supplements) in delaying progression of AMD. [For recommendations from this study, download: "Vitamins and Age-Related Macular Degeneration"].
The Center actively participates in research and testing of vision-assisting devices and therapies for individuals with limited vision due to macular degeneration, glaucoma or other blinding diseases. Our Low Vision clinic helps people of any age with reduced vision that neither surgery, medical treatment nor the best standard optical remedies can correct.
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