AMD advances in treatment is focus of Jackson Memorial Lecture

October 24, 2004

Stuart L. Fine, MD, covered the evolution of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) over the last 35 years in his Jackson Memorial Lecture during the opening session of the American Academy of Ophthalmology annual meeting.

New Orleans-Stuart L. Fine, MD, covered the evolution of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) over the last 35 years in his Jackson Memorial Lecture during the opening session of the American Academy of Ophthalmology annual meeting.

Dr. Fine, professor and chairman of ophthalmology and director of the Scheie Eye Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, touched on the highlights of understanding of the disease and the various treatment options during four distinct eras: 1969 to 1979, 1979 to 1994, 1994 to 2004, and 2004 and beyond.

During 1969 to 1979, fluorescein fundus photography and argon laser photocoagulation were introduced. From 1979 to 1994, clinical trials were undertaken to assess new treatments, such as laser photocoagulation. Also, risk factor data were gathered from large and small epidemiologic studies. In 1994 to 2004, radiation treatment was assessed as well as pharmacologic intervention for neovascular AMD. In addition, prevention trials were undertaken.

"The fourth era (2004 and into the future) may be characterized by earlier identification of eyes at risk and prevention trials in pre-symptomatic patients at risk," Dr. Fine said.

AMD has now "moved to center stage" and remains as the major cause of irreversible vision loss in the United States and throughout the developed world, he emphasized.

"On the positive side, however, is the enormous interest of the National Eye Institute, large pharmaceutical companies, and the many investigators actively conducting research. These endeavors and the emphasis of prevention trials provide much hope for the future," he said.