The prevalent cases of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), including those who have not yet been diagnosed, will increase from 71.7 million in 2016 to 82.9 million in 2026, in the seven major markets (7MM*), according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
AMD is a progressive eye condition that causes the patient to gradually lose their central vision, which is used to focus the eye straight ahead. AMD is the most common cause of significant, irreversible vision loss among the elderly and has three stages: early AMD, intermediate AMD, and late AMD.
The existing epidemiologic literature suggests that AMD is associated with several risk factors and comorbidities. Advancing age is the major risk factor. Another important but preventable risk factor is cigarette smoking.
Ana Fernandez Menjivar, Healthcare Analyst at GlobalData, comments: As the risk for developing AMD increases with age, we expect the AMD burden to increase, given the increasing aging population worldwide. AMD is associated with economic, psychological and social burdens and can lead to a greater risk of falls and depression. The resulting disability creates personal costs and a massive burden on healthcare resources.
Although AMD is largely untreatable due to its cause not being fully understood, certain measures, such as smoking cessation, can reduce the risk of the disease. Early intervention may delay progression, which in turn could lessen the economic and psychosocial burdens related to severe vision loss. However, in light of the expected increase in prevalent cases due to the growing aging population, further research into the nature of AMD will be critical to tackling the burden of the disease.