Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common disease associated with aging that gradually impairs sharp, central vision that is necessary for everyday tasks such as reading, writing, and driving. There are two common forms of AMD: dry AMD and wet AMD. Age-related macular degeneration always begins as dry degeneration associated with the buildup of material, called drusen, under the retina resulting in a moderate degree of vision impairment. The dry form of the disease can progress and eventually lead to a total loss of cells in the macula resulting in legal blindness.
About ninety percent of people with AMD have the dry form, for which there are no treatments. There is a great need for extended therapies to reverse the injury to cells in the retina that is responsible for the degenerative dry form of AMD. For this reason, the Retina Foundation of the Southwest, under the direction of Karl G. Csaky, M.D. Ph.D., Managing & Medical Director, recently invented a two-layer ocular implant for the delivery of drugs to the eye for treatment of dry AMD.
Japan granted a patent for the implant in May 2018, Europe in June 2018, and the United States in July 2018. It is the hope of the Retina Foundation that the two-layer ocular implant device will be able to provide more long-term solutions for a variety of eye diseases, beginning with dry AMD. The inventive implants are highly versatile and can be tailored to fit the needs of the patient. The specific time period for releasing the therapeutic agents into the eye can be adjusted to weeks, months, or even years as desired.