The age related macular degeneration (atrophic type AMD) or more commonly known as maculopathy is a serious eye pathology involving the macula, i.e. the portion of the retina that is richer of photoreceptors and responsible for a fine detailed central vision, which enables us to recognize a face, read, carry out precision works, drive a car and very likely to che ci permette di riconoscere un volto, leggere, eseguire lavori di precisione, guidare e probabilmente di l’auto etc.
In technologically advanced countries, the incidence of the AMD has strongly increased and continues increasing due to the lengthening of the average lifespan. The AMD strikes, in fact, approximately 11% of the individuals aged between 65 and 74 years and such percentage considerably increases when older age ranges are taken into consideration. As of today’s date the AMD, in more industrialized countries, represents the most common cause of legal blindness and low vision in individuals older than 55 years.
The AMD can have two forms: atrophic AMD (also referred to as non-neovascular or dry) and exudative AMD (also referred to as neovascular or wet). The AMD usually starts in the atrophic form (90% of the cases) and seldom (10% of the cases) in the exudative form. In some patients the atrophic AMD can evolve into the exudative form.
The atrophic AMD is characterized by the presence of drusen, very small yellow or white spots under the retina deriving from the accumulation of waste material mainly originating from the metabolism of retinal cells, which are located between the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and the Bruch membrane. The drusen can be detected upon examination of the eye fundus and have the aspect of small yellow formations.