Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of severe vision loss and legal blindness in people over the age of 65 in North America and Europe. The global impact is significant with current projected estimates for people living with AMD of around 200 million people worldwide and expected rapid growth due to aging population.
Around 1,000 new patients are diagnosed everyday in Europe and U.S. There are two forms of advanced AMD: the wet form, where treatment like anti-VEGF injections slows down the disease progression, and the dry form, where there is currently no curative treatment available.
More than 5 million patients are afflicted with advanced dry AMD worldwide, also referred to as Geographic Atrophy. For those, there is currently no treatment approved. Patients suffering from this retinal dystrophy gradually lose their central vision (responsible for high visual acuity, e.g. for reading and face recognition) due to the loss of photoreceptors.
Source : Wong, W. L., Su, X., Li, X., Cheung, C. M. G., Klein, R., Cheng, C. Y., & Wong, T. Y. (2014). Global prevalence of age-related macular degeneration and disease burden projection for 2020 and 2040: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet Global Health, 2(2), e106-e116 (https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(13)70145-1/fulltext)