Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the largest cause of registered blindness in developed countries. AMD is an age-related disease claiming 10% of the population in the age range 66-74 years, rising to 30% in those aged 75-85 years. The predicted increase in the elderly population is expected to swell these numbers. Thus the current estimate of 1.75 million sufferers in the United States is expected to grow to 3.0 million by the year 2020.
As the disease progresses, there is a gradual loss of central
vision with blurring of images, missing areas within the visual field and distorted vision such that straight lines appear wavy. There is a decrease in the brightness of
colours and difficulty in discriminating between shades of light and dark. Whereas most of us adapt quickly from light to dim illumination, AMD sufferers take much longer.
Blurred vision together with the presence of blind spots makes it very difficult to read or recognise faces, generally diminishing the quality of later life.
Currently there is NO TREATMENT for AMD. Patients are simply advised to minimise the risk factors associated with AMD. These include stopping smoking, managing high
cholesterol and blood pressure, reducing exposure to bright lights and taking nutritional supplements high in anti-oxidants. About 10% of AMD patients develop secondary
complications that lead to formation and leakage from new blood vessels and this can cause sudden loss of vision. Anti-VEGF drugs now manage these complications effectively
but this intervention does not alter the underlying progression of the disease.
ecent advances in research have provided a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying the development of AMD. It appears that the normal ageing process within the
eye is considerably accelerated in AMD leading to the death of the visual cells of the retina.
For effective therapeutic intervention, the metabolic support to the retina needs to be improved. Scientists at AltRegen have demonstrated that compounds in ginseng extract
can significantly improve the delivery pathways for providing nutritional support to the retina. Such an intervention is expected to slow the ageing process and thereby
prevent the degenerative progress of AMD.
This is the first viable treatment procedure for the prevention and treatment of AMD.