Age-related Macular Degeneration

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Publications

McHugh KJ, Li D, Wang JC, Kwark L, Loo J, Macha V, Farsiu S, Kim LA, Saint-Geniez M. Computational modeling of retinal hypoxia and photoreceptor degeneration in patients with age-related macular degeneration. PLoS One 2019;14(6):e0216215.Abstract
Although drusen have long been acknowledged as a primary hallmark of dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) their role in the disease remains unclear. We hypothesize that drusen accumulation increases the barrier to metabolite transport ultimately resulting in photoreceptor cell death. To investigate this hypothesis, a computational model was developed to evaluate steady-state oxygen distribution in the retina. Optical coherence tomography images from fifteen AMD patients and six control subjects were segmented and translated into 3D in silico representations of retinal morphology. A finite element model was then used to determine the steady-state oxygen distribution throughout the retina for both generic and patient-specific retinal morphology. Oxygen levels were compared to the change in retinal thickness at a later time point to observe possible correlations. The generic finite element model of oxygen concentration in the retina agreed closely with both experimental measurements from literature and clinical observations, including the minimal pathological drusen size identified by AREDS (64 μm). Modeling oxygen distribution in the outer retina of AMD patients showed a substantially stronger correlation between hypoxia and future retinal thinning (Pearson correlation coefficient, r = 0.2162) than between drusen height and retinal thinning (r = 0.0303) indicating the potential value of this physiology-based approach. This study presents proof-of-concept for the potential utility of finite element modeling in evaluating retinal health and also suggests a potential link between transport and AMD pathogenesis. This strategy may prove useful as a prognostic tool for predicting the clinical risk of AMD progression.
Rong SS, Lee BY, Kuk AK, Yu XT, Li SS, Li J, Guo Y, Yin Y, Osterbur DL, Yam JCS, Cheung CY, Chen LJ, Wong TY, Ng DS-C. Comorbidity of dementia and age-related macular degeneration calls for clinical awareness: a meta-analysis. Br J Ophthalmol 2019;Abstract
AIM: To determine the association between dementia and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) using meta-analysis. METHODS: We searched in the MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Knowledge, PsycInfo and Cochrane database of systematic reviews for studies published from March 1959 to March 2018. We included cross-sectional, case-control and cohort studies that evaluated the association of dementia/Alzheimer's disease (AD) with AMD (as outcome) and the association of AMD with dementia/AD (as outcome). Studies that compared cognitive functions between AMD and controls were also included. The summary outcomes, namely odds ratio (OR), relative risk, mean differences and corresponding 95% CIs, were estimated using random effects models. We performed sensitivity analysis based on study quality and individual study effect to control for potential biases. RESULTS: Among 2159 citation records, we identified 21 studies consisting of 7 876 499 study subjects for meta-analysis. Patients with dementia (p≤0.017, OR≥1.24, I≤9%) or AD (p=0.001, OR=2.22, I=50%) were at risk for AMD, particularly for late AMD (p<0.001, OR=1.37, I=0). AMD was also significantly associated with increased risk of AD/cognitive impairment (p=0.037, OR=2.42, I=38%). Moreover, patients with AMD had poorer cognitive functions when compared with controls, including Mini-Mental State Examination (p<0.001, I≤79%) and Trail Making Test A (p<0.001, I=0). Sensitivity analysis and Egger's test indicated our results were less likely biased. CONCLUSIONS: A significant association between dementia/AD and AMD calls for greater clinical awareness. The cost-effectiveness of routine screening for the other condition in patients with primary diagnosis of dementia/AD or AMD requires further study.
Owen LA, Shakoor A, Morgan DJ, Hejazi AA, McEntire WM, Brown JJ, Farrer LA, Kim I, Vitale A, Deangelis MM. The Utah Protocol for Postmortem Eye Phenotyping and Molecular Biochemical Analysis. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2019;60(4):1204-1212.Abstract
Purpose: Current understanding of local disease pathophysiology in AMD is limited. Analysis of the human disease-affected tissue is most informative, as gene expression, expressed quantitative trait loci, microenvironmental, and epigenetic changes can be tissue, cell type, and location specific. Development of a novel translational treatment and prevention strategies particularly for earlier forms of AMD are needed, although access to human ocular tissue analysis is challenging. We present a standardized protocol to study rapidly processed postmortem donor eyes for molecular biochemical and genomic studies. Methods: We partnered with the Utah Lions Eye Bank to obtain donor human eyes, blood, and vitreous, within 6 hours postmortem. Phenotypic analysis was performed using spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) and color fundus photography. Macular and extramacular tissues were immediately isolated, and the neural retina and retinal pigment epithelium/choroid from each specimen were separated and preserved. Ocular disease phenotype was analyzed using clinically relevant grading criteria by a group of four ophthalmologists incorporating data from SD-OCT retinal images, fundus photographs, and medical records. Results: The use of multimodal imaging leads to greater resolution of retinal pathology, allowing greater phenotypic rigor for both interobserver phenotype and known clinical diagnoses. Further, our analysis resulted in excellent quality RNA, which demonstrated appropriate tissue segregation. Conclusions: The Utah protocol is a standardized methodology for analysis of disease mechanisms in AMD. It uniquely allows for simultaneous rigorous phenotypic, molecular biochemical, and genomic analysis of both systemic and local tissues. This better enables the development of disease biomarkers and therapeutic interventions.
Farinha CVL, Cachulo ML, Alves D, Pires I, Marques JP, Barreto P, Nunes S, Costa J, Martins A, Sobral I, Laíns I, Figueira J, Ribeiro L, Cunha-Vaz J, Silva R. Incidence of Age-Related Macular Degeneration in the Central Region of Portugal: The Coimbra Eye Study - Report 5. Ophthalmic Res 2019;:1-10.Abstract
PURPOSE: To describe the 6.5-year incidence and progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in a coastal town of central Portugal. METHODS: Population-based cohort study. Participants underwent standardized interviews and ophthalmological examination. Color fundus photographs were graded according to the International Classification and Grading System for AMD and ARM. The crude and age-standardized incidence of early and late AMD was calculated, and progression was analyzed. RESULTS: The 6.5-year cumulative incidence of early AMD was 10.7%, and of late AMD it was 0.8%. The incidence of early AMD was 7.2, 13.1 and 17.7% for participants aged 55-64, 65-74 and 75-84 years (p < 0.001). The late AMD incidence was 0.3, 0.9 and 2.8% for the corresponding age groups (p = 0.003). The age-standardized incidence was 10.8% (95% CI, 10.74-10.80%) for early and 1.0% (95% CI, 1.00-1.02%) for late AMD. The incidence of both neovascular AMD and geographic atrophy was 0.4%. Progression occurred in 17.2% of patients. CONCLUSION: The early AMD incidence in a coastal town of central Portugal was found to be similar to that of major epidemiological studies of European-descent populations; however, the incidence of late AMD was lower, and further analysis on risk factors will be conducted.
Wang Y, Liu C-H, Ji T, Mehta M, Wang W, Marino E, Chen J, Kohane DS. Intravenous treatment of choroidal neovascularization by photo-targeted nanoparticles. Nat Commun 2019;10(1):804.Abstract
Choroidal neovascularization (CNV) is the major cause of vision loss in wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Current therapies require repeated intravitreal injections, which are painful and can cause infection, bleeding, and retinal detachment. Here we develop nanoparticles (NP-[CPP]) that can be administered intravenously and allow local drug delivery to the diseased choroid via light-triggered targeting. NP-[CPP] is formed by PEG-PLA chains modified with a cell penetrating peptide (CPP). Attachment of a DEACM photocleavable group to the CPP inhibits cellular uptake of NP-[CPP]. Irradiation with blue light cleaves DEACM from the CPP, allowing the CPP to migrate from the NP core to the surface, rendering it active. In mice with laser-induced CNV, intravenous injection of NP-[CPP] coupled to irradiation of the eye allows NP accumulation in the neovascular lesions. When loaded with doxorubicin, irradiated NP-[CPP] significantly reduces neovascular lesion size. We propose a strategy for non-invasive treatment of CNV and enhanced drug accumulation specifically in diseased areas of the eye.
Roh M, Laíns I, Shin HJ, Park DH, Mach S, Vavvas DG, Kim IK, Miller JW, Husain D, Miller JB. Microperimetry in age-related macular degeneration: association with macular morphology assessed by optical coherence tomography. Br J Ophthalmol 2019;Abstract
BACKGROUND/AIMS: Microperimetry is a technique that is increasingly used to assess visual function in age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In this study, we aimed to evaluate the relationship between retinal sensitivity measured with macular integrity assessment (MAIA) microperimetry and optical coherence tomography (OCT)-based macular morphology in AMD. METHODS: Prospective, cross-sectional study. All participants were imaged with colour fundus photographs used for AMD staging (Age-Related Eye Disease Study scale), spectral-domain OCT (Spectralis, Heidelberg, Germany) and swept-source OCT (Topcon, Japan). Threshold retinal sensitivity of the central 10° diameter circle was assessed with the full-threshold, 37-point protocol of the MAIA microperimetry device (Centervue, Italy). Univariable and multivariable multilevel mixed-effect linear regression models were used for analysis. RESULTS: We included 102 eyes with AMD and 46 control eyes. Multivariable analysis revealed that older age (p<0.0001), advanced AMD stage (p<0.0001) and reduced retinal thickness (p<0.0001) were associated with decreased mean retinal sensitivity. No associations were found between choroidal thickness and retinal sensitivity within the macula. Within the 10° diameter circle of the macula, the presence of ellipsoid disruption, subretinal fluid, atrophy and fibrosis, and outer retinal tubulation on OCT images was also associated with decreased retinal sensitivity (all p<0.05). CONCLUSIONS: There is an association between TRS as determined by MAIA microperimetry and several OCT structural parameters across various stages of AMD. This study highlights the relevance of microperimetry as a functional outcome measure for AMD.
Laíns I, Duarte D, Barros AS, Martins AS, Carneiro TJ, Gil JQ, Miller JB, Marques M, Mesquita TS, Barreto P, Kim IK, da Luz Cachulo M, Vavvas DG, Carreira IM, Murta JN, Silva R, Miller JW, Husain D, Gil AM. Urine Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Metabolomics in Age-Related Macular Degeneration. J Proteome Res 2019;18(3):1278-1288.Abstract
Biofluid biomarkers of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are still lacking, and their identification is challenging. Metabolomics is well-suited to address this need, and urine is a valuable accessible biofluid. This study aimed to characterize the urinary metabolomic signatures of patients with different stages of AMD and a control group (>50 years). It was a prospective, cross-sectional study, where subjects from two cohorts were included: 305 from Coimbra, Portugal (AMD patients n = 252; controls n = 53) and 194 from Boston, United States (AMD patients n = 147; controls n = 47). For all participants, we obtained color fundus photographs (for AMD staging) and fasting urine samples, which were analyzed using H nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Our results revealed that in both cohorts, urinary metabolomic profiles differed mostly between controls and late AMD patients, but important differences were also found between controls and subjects with early AMD. Analysis of the metabolites responsible for these separations revealed that, even though distinct features were observed for each cohort, AMD was in general associated with depletion of excreted citrate and selected amino acids at some stage of the disease, suggesting enhanced energy requirements. In conclusion, NMR metabolomics enabled the identification of urinary signals of AMD and its severity stages, which might represent potential metabolomic biomarkers of the disease.
Wang JC, McKay KM, Sood AB, Laíns I, Sobrin L, Miller JB. Comparison of choroidal neovascularization secondary to white dot syndromes and age-related macular degeneration by using optical coherence tomography angiography. Clin Ophthalmol 2019;13:95-105.Abstract
Purpose: To characterize and compare choroidal neovascularization (CNV) secondary to white dot syndromes (WDS) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) using optical coherence tomography angiography (OCT-A). Methods: This is a cross-sectional study in which we imaged patients with CNV secondary to WDS and AMD with either the Zeiss Angioplex OCT-A or Optovue AngioVue OCT-A. Relevant demographic and clinical characteristics were collected and analyzed. CNV area and vessel density (VD) were measured by three independent graders, and linear regression analysis was subsequently performed. Results: Three patients with multifocal choroiditis and panuveitis, one patient each with birdshot chorioretinopathy, presumed ocular histoplasmosis syndrome, and persistent placoid maculopathy, and eleven patients with AMD with sufficient image quality were included. CNV associated with WDS was significantly smaller than that secondary to AMD (0.56±0.32 vs 2.79±1.80 mm, =-2.22, =0.01), while no difference in VD was detected (0.46±0.09 vs 0.44±0.09, =0.02, =0.71). Conclusion: CNV networks secondary to WDS appear to be smaller than those secondary to AMD but have similar VD. OCT-A is a powerful tool to investigate properties of CNV from various etiologies. Larger studies are needed for further characterization and understanding of CNV pathogenesis in inflammatory conditions.
Raimundo M, Mira F, da Cachulo ML, Barreto P, Ribeiro L, Farinha C, Laíns I, Nunes S, Alves D, Figueira J, Merle BM, Delcourt C, Santos L, Silva R. Adherence to a Mediterranean diet, lifestyle and age-related macular degeneration: the Coimbra Eye Study - report 3. Acta Ophthalmol 2018;96(8):e926-e932.Abstract
PURPOSE: To characterize the lifestyle and nutritional risk profile associated with the Mediterranean diet in a Portuguese population with and without age-related macular degeneration (AMD). METHODS: Nested case-control study (n = 883) within the Coimbra Eye Study, including 434 subjects with AMD and 449 age- and sex-matched subjects without AMD. All enrolled subjects underwent a full risk assessment, including lifestyle-related risk factors and a thorough food frequency questionnaire. This allowed us to build an adherence score to the Mediterranean diet (mediSCORE, range 0-9) constructed from individual food intakes. Food intake was also further analysed by conversion to micronutrient consumption. RESULTS: Our results suggest that physical activity has a protective role in AMD [p = 0.018 after multivariate adjustment, OR: 0.69 (0.51-0.93)]. High (mediSCORE ≥6) was also found to be protective [p = 0.041, OR: 0.62 (95% CI: 0.38-0.97)]. Food group analysis unveiled a specific protective role for increased fruits consumption (p = 0.029). Finally, micronutrient analysis revealed a protective role associated with increased consumption of caffeine, fibres, beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E (p < 0.05). CONCLUSION: High mediSCORE appears to confer protection against the development of AMD in a Mediterranean population. This effect is driven by increased consumption of fruits and some antioxidant micronutrients, which emerged as statistically significant protective factors. Further studies are required to establish dietary recommendations with clinical application.
Laíns I, Kelly RS, Miller JB, Vavvas DG, Kim IK, Lasky-Su J, Miller JW, Husain D. Reply. Ophthalmology 2018;125(7):e46-e47.
Roh M, Selivanova A, Shin HJ, Miller JW, Jackson ML. Visual acuity and contrast sensitivity are two important factors affecting vision-related quality of life in advanced age-related macular degeneration. PLoS One 2018;13(5):e0196481.Abstract
PURPOSE: Vision loss from age-related macular degeneration (AMD) has a profound effect on vision-related quality of life (VRQoL). The pupose of this study is to identify clinical factors associated with VRQoL using the Rasch- calibrated NEI VFQ-25 scales in bilateral advanced AMD patients. METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed 47 patients (mean age 83.2 years) with bilateral advanced AMD. Clinical assessment included age, gender, type of AMD, high contrast visual acuity (VA), history of medical conditions, contrast sensitivity (CS), central visual field loss, report of Charles Bonnet Syndrome, current treatment for AMD and Rasch-calibrated NEI VFQ-25 visual function and socioemotional function scales. The NEI VFQ visual function scale includes items of general vision, peripheral vision, distance vision and near vision-related activity while the socioemotional function scale includes items of vision related-social functioning, role difficulties, dependency, and mental health. Multiple regression analysis (structural regression model) was performed using fixed item parameters obtained from the one-parameter item response theory model. RESULTS: Multivariate analysis showed that high contrast VA and CS were two factors influencing VRQoL visual function scale (β = -0.25, 95% CI-0.37 to -0.12, p<0.001 and β = 0.35, 95% CI 0.25 to 0.46, p<0.001) and socioemontional functioning scale (β = -0.2, 95% CI -0.37 to -0.03, p = 0.023, and β = 0.3, 95% CI 0.18 to 0.43, p = 0.001). Central visual field loss was not assoicated with either VRQoL visual or socioemontional functioning scale (β = -0.08, 95% CI-0.28 to 0.12,p = 0.44 and β = -0.09, 95% CI -0.03 to 0.16, p = 0.50, respectively). CONCLUSION: In patients with vision impairment secondary to bilateral advanced AMD, high contrast VA and CS are two important factors affecting VRQoL.
Laíns I, Park DH, Mukai R, Silverman R, Oellers P, Mach S, Kim IK, Vavvas DG, Miller JW, Miller JB, Husain D. Peripheral Changes Associated With Delayed Dark Adaptation in Age-related Macular Degeneration. Am J Ophthalmol 2018;190:113-124.Abstract
PURPOSE: To study the association between peripheral changes in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and dark adaptation (DA). DESIGN: Prospective, cross-sectional study. METHODS: We recruited patients with AMD and a control group (>50 years) without any vitreoretinal disease. Ultra-widefield (UWF) pseudocolor and fundus autofluorescence (FAF) were obtained, and were assessed by 2 graders for the presence of several peripheral changes in perimacular, midperipheral, and far-peripheral zones. All participants were also imaged with 7-field color fundus photographs used for AMD staging (Age-Related Eye Disease Study classification system). Both eyes of study participants were tested with a dark adaptation (DA) extended protocol (20 minutes). Multilevel mixed-effect models (accounting for correlated outcomes between 2 eyes) were used for analyses. RESULTS: We included 128 eyes (n = 72 patients), 75% with AMD and the remainder controls. The presence of reticular pigmentary changes in the midperipheral (ß = 4.3, P = .012) and far-peripheral zones (ß = 8.4, P < .001) was associated with delayed rod-intercept times (RITs), even after adjusting for confounding factors. The presence, number, and extent of peripheral classic drusen did not show a similar association (P ≥ .148). The presence of a mottled decreased FAF pattern in the midperipheral zone was also associated with prolonged RITs (β = 4.4, P = .031). CONCLUSION: Our results suggest an association between DA and the presence of peripheral reticular pigmentary changes, as well as the presence of a peripheral mottled decreased FAF pattern. This provides new insights on the clinical significance of peripheral changes in AMD, and their contribution to impairments on DA.
Nunes S, Alves D, Barreto P, Raimundo M, da Luz Cachulo M, Farinha C, Laíns I, Rodrigues J, Almeida C, Ribeiro L, Figueira J, Santos L, Silva R. Adherence to a mediterranean diet and its association with age-related macular degeneration. The Coimbra Eye Study-Report 4. Nutrition 2018;51-52:6-12.Abstract
OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to characterize the association of lifestyle and nutritional risk profiles with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in two subpopulations with differing AMD prevalence. METHODS: This case-control study (n = 1992) included 768 patients with AMD and 1224 age- and sex-matched participants without AMD with a single visit at a primary health care unit. Enrolled participants completed a validated lifestyle and food frequency questionnaire. A score to measure adherence to the Mediterranean diet (mediSCORE; Range, 0-9) was constructed from individual food intakes, which were further analyzed by conversion to nutrient consumption. RESULTS: Higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet (mediSCORE ≥6) was significantly associated with no AMD (odds ratio [OR] = 0.73; P = 0.009). The subpopulation with lower AMD prevalence presented significantly higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet in relation to all individual food groups that comprised the mediSCORE (P < 0.014) with the exception of cereals. Food group analysis showed significant associations between the increased consumption of vegetables (OR = 0.63; P < 0.001) and fruit and nuts (OR = 0.78; P = 0.010) with no AMD. Nutrient analysis revealed that an increased ingestion of water, fibers, total fat, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, linoleic acid, vitamins A and C, carotene, alpha-tocopherol, folate, magnesium, iron, and zinc were significantly associated with no AMD (P < 0.0013). Finally, regular physical activity was associated with no AMD (P = 0.003). CONCLUSIONS: High adherence to a Mediterranean diet and regular physical activity seem to be protective factors for AMD in a Portuguese population. The effect of the diet is likely driven by the increased consumption of vegetables, fruits, and nuts.
Laíns I, Kelly RS, Miller JB, Silva R, Vavvas DG, Kim IK, Murta JN, Lasky-Su J, Miller JW, Husain D. Human Plasma Metabolomics Study across All Stages of Age-Related Macular Degeneration Identifies Potential Lipid Biomarkers. Ophthalmology 2018;125(2):245-254.Abstract
PURPOSE: To characterize the plasma metabolomic profile of patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) using mass spectrometry (MS). DESIGN: Cross-sectional observational study. PARTICIPANTS: We prospectively recruited participants with a diagnosis of AMD and a control group (>50 years of age) without any vitreoretinal disease. METHODS: All participants underwent color fundus photography, used for AMD diagnosis and staging, according to the Age-Related Eye Disease Study classification scheme. Fasting blood samples were collected and plasma was analyzed by Metabolon, Inc. (Durham, NC), using ultrahigh-performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) and high-resolution MS. Metabolon's hardware and software were used to identify peaks and control quality. Principal component analysis and multivariate regression were performed to assess differences in the metabolomic profiles of AMD patients versus controls, while controlling for potential confounders. For biological interpretation, pathway enrichment analysis of significant metabolites was performed using MetaboAnalyst. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome measures were levels of plasma metabolites in participants with AMD compared with controls and among different AMD severity stages. RESULTS: We included 90 participants with AMD (30 with early AMD, 30 with intermediate AMD, and 30 with late AMD) and 30 controls. Using UPLC and MS, 878 biochemicals were identified. Multivariate logistic regression identified 87 metabolites with levels that differed significantly between AMD patients and controls. Most of these metabolites (82.8%; n = 72), including the most significant metabolites, belonged to the lipid pathways. Analysis of variance revealed that of the 87 metabolites, 48 (55.2%) also were significantly different across the different stages of AMD. A significant enrichment of the glycerophospholipids pathway was identified (P = 4.7 × 10) among these metabolites. CONCLUSIONS: Participants with AMD have altered plasma metabolomic profiles compared with controls. Our data suggest that the most significant metabolites map to the glycerophospholipid pathway. These findings have the potential to improve our understanding of AMD pathogenesis, to support the development of plasma-based metabolomics biomarkers of AMD, and to identify novel targets for treatment of this blinding disease.

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