Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of irreversible visual loss in the developed world. Both environmental and genetic factors contribute to the development of disease. Among environmental factors, smoking, obesity and dietary factors including antioxidants and dietary fat intake most consistently affect initiation and progression of AMD. There are also several lines of evidence that link both cardiovascular and inflammatory biomarkers to AMD. AMD is characterized by a progressive loss of central vision attributable to degenerative and neovascular changes in the macula, a highly specialized region of the ocular retina responsible for fine visual acuity. Estimates gathered from the most recent World Health Organization (WHO) global eye disease survey conservatively indicate that 14 million persons are blind or severely visually impaired because of AMD. The disease has a tremendous impact on the physical and mental health of the geriatric population and their families and is becoming a major public health burden.
Uveitis can result in irreversible visual impairment and constitutes the underlying cause in approximately 10% of all cases of blindness. Visual loss results directly from the inflammatory process, which can cause macular edema or chorioretinal scarring, or is induced by severe complications such as glaucoma or cataract. The incidence of uveitis in the Western world is 52.4 per 100,000 and the prevalence is 115 per 100,000. The incidence correlates positively with age and affects women more frequently than men. The morbidity rate is often high due to the chronic course of the disease and the frequent exacerbations.