Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of significant visual acuity loss in people over the age of 50 in developed countries. Almost 80% of the people diagnosed with AMD will have the non-neovascular (dry) or atrophic subtypes.1, 2
The most advanced form of non-neovascular AMD, known as geographic atrophy (GA), can occur as early as intermediate AMD or in advanced AMD.2 To date, daily intake of antioxidant vitamins is the only commercially available therapy to prevent dry AMD, and even vitamin use is not a universally accepted treatment.3
Most patients will be referred to a retina specialist once a diagnosis of AMD is reached, but they are likely to question their primary eye care professional about the disease before that referral occurs. Both central vision and color perception are affected by AMD, and these tend to develop slowly.
The earliest clinical signs of disease are drusen. One of the earliest symptoms of late AMD is seeing straight lines that appear crooked/blurred. If drusen are small and distinct, there is a reduced risk for progression to advanced AMD. Large, soft, and confluent drusen are more predictive.