Once dry AMD reaches the advanced stage, no form of treatment can prevent vision loss. However, treatment can delay and possibly prevent intermediate age-related macular degeneration from progressing to the advanced stage, in which vision loss occurs.
The National Eye Institute's Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) found that taking a specific high-dose formulation of antioxidants and zinc significantly reduces the risk of advanced AMD and its associated vision loss. Slowing AMD's progression from the intermediate stage to the advanced stage will save the vision of many people.
Dry AMD research efforts have centered on helping those with AMD-related low vision learn to function well and maintain their independence. However, a number of innovative treatments for dry AMD are being tested by a wide range of researchers.
- Cell biologists have recently identified a so-called scavenger receptor, a cell-surface protein that removes drusen. The absence of this receptor in the retina is thought to be a chief contributor to dry AMD.
- Physicists and computer engineers have developed the prototype for a Nanochip that is implanted into the retina to replace the macula’s damaged rods and cones.
- Neurologists and geneticists are developing a retinal implant composed of genetically modified human cells.
- Pharmaceutical company chemists are working on drugs to curb inflammation, slow geographic atrophy, and discourage the deposition of fatty plaques (drusen) in the retina.
- Physicists and molecular biologists have invented a short-pulse laser technique to stimulate retinal enzymes to clear fatty waste before it can damage the macula.