Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss, afflicting 1 in 4 people over the age of 65. AMD causes the degeneration of the part of the eye responsible for providing sharp, central vision. A layer of cells at the back of the eye, called the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), provides support, protection, and nutrition to the light sensitive cells of the retina. Dysfunction of these cells plays a critical role in blindness and vision loss in AMD.
Initially, AMD causes distortion in central vision; eventually, it can lead to legal blindness. Vision loss may progress slowly or quickly; however, over time, all victims develop blurred or blank spots in their vision, making it increasingly more difficult to perform daily tasks and recognize faces.
“Vision loss may progress slowly or quickly; however, over time, all victims develop blurred or blank spots in their vision.”
By 2020, over 450,000 Californians will suffer from vision loss or blindness due to AMD. Treatment is extremely expensive and not altogether effective. Costs continue to skyrocket; the cost of AMD per patient per year can exceed $25,000.