Visual impairment in elderly people is a considerable health problem that significantly affects quality of life of millions worldwide. The magnitude of this issue is becoming more evident with an aging population and an increasing number of older individuals.
The objective of this article was to review the clinical and pathological aspects of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diagnostic tools, and therapeutic modalities presently available or underway for both atrophic and wet forms of the disease.
An online review of the PubMed database was performed, searching for the key words. The search was limited to articles published since 1980 to date.
Several risk factors have been linked to AMD, such as age (>60 years), lifestyle (smoking and diet), and family history. Although the pathogenesis of AMD remains unclear, genetic factors have been implicated in the condition. Treatment for atrophic AMD is mainly close observation, coupled with nutritional supplements such as zinc and antioxidants, whereas treatment of wet AMD is based on targeting choroidal neovascular membranes.
Identification of modifiable risk factors would improve the possibilities of preventing the progression of AMD. The role of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) agents has transformed the therapeutic approach of the potentially blinding disease "wet AMD" into a more favorable outcome.