The Open Ophthalmology Journal

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Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD): A Review on its Epidemiology and Risk Factors

Nasim Salimiaghdam1, #, Mohammad Riazi-Esfahani1, Paula S. Fukuhara1, Kevin Schneider1, M. Cristina Kenney*, 1, 2
1 Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, University of California Irvine, Irvine,92697, California, USA
2 Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of California Irvine, Irvine, 92697, California, USA


Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a type of maculopathy that results in irreversible visual impairment among the aged population in developed countries. The early stages of AMD can be diagnosed by the presence of drusen beneath the retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells. The advanced stages of AMD are geographical atrophy (dry type) and neovascular AMD (wet type), which lead to progressive and severe vision loss. The advanced stage of dry AMD can be identified by extensive large drusen, detachment of the RPE layer and finally degeneration of photoreceptors leading to central vision loss. The late stage of wet AMD is diagnosed by the presence of Choroidal Neovascularization (CNV) identified by Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) or retinal angiography. The principal of AMD management is to impede the progression of early AMD to advanced levels. Patients with CNV are treated with anti-VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) compounds to inhibit blood vessel growth and thereby reducing vision loss. Although preventive methods for dry AMD are under investigation, there are no proven effective treatments.

A variety of environmental and genetic related risk factors are associated with increased incidence and progression of AMD. The genetic factors are found in the complement, angiogenic and lipid pathways. However, environmental factors, such as smoking and nutrition, are also major risk factors. Smoking is a modifiable environmental risk factor, which greatly increases the incidence and progress of AMD compared to non-smokers. There is growing evidence for the positive influence of a healthy diet containing high levels of anti-oxidant supplements. The reduction of serum lipids is another effective strategy for prevention AMD. Although no single preventive approach has been identified, knowing the high risk factors of AMD, along with modification of lifestyle is important for this multifactorial disease, especially in populations with higher genetic susceptibility. Though recent progress in early diagnosis of the disease has facilitated early and efficient intervention, further studies are required to gain more clarification of specific pathophysiology.

In spite of decades of focused research on AMD, the pathogenesis of AMD is still not completely understood. Recently, numerous novel methods, including imaging techniques, new drug delivery routes, and therapeutic strategies, are improving the management of AMD. In this review, we discuss the current knowledge related to epidemiology and classifications of AMD.

Keywords: Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), Definition, Epidemiology, Risk factors, OCT, CNV.

Article Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2019
Volume: 13
First Page: 90
Last Page: 99
Publisher Id: TOOPHTJ-13-90
DOI: 10.2174/1874364101913010090

Article History:

Received Date: 11/08/2019
Revision Received Date: 18/11/2019
Acceptance Date: 22/11/2019
Electronic publication date: 31/12/2019
Collection year: 2019

© 2019 Salimiaghdam et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, University of California Irvine, Hewitt Hall, Room 2028, 843 Health Science Road, Irvine, CA 92697; Tel: (949) 824-7603; Fax: (949) 824-9626;

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