Primary Outcome Measures:
- Change of geographic atrophy size to baseline [ Time Frame: 36 months ]
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of legal blindness in the industrialized world beyond 50 years of age. Ageing changes of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) play a key role in the pathogenesis of the disease. In postmitotic RPE cells autofluorescent lipofuscin granules accumulate with age in the lysosomal compartment mainly as a byproduct of constant phagocytosis of membranous disks shed from photoreceptor outer segments. With the advent of confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscopy fundus autofluorescence mediated by RPE-lipofuscin accumulation can be visualized in vivo: We plan to identify fundus autofluorescence changes as predictive factors for the development of late stage manifestations and their variation over time. Furthermore, we plan to determine the effect of increased focal accumulations of autofluorescent material on retinal sensitivity using fundus perimetry. Examination of human donor eyes with AMD will allow for correlation of fundus autofluorescence alterations in vivo and in vitro. These investigations will be performed not only to better understand the role of lipofuscin accumulation in AMD but also to manipulate these mechanisms for both experimental and therapeutic ends.