Maculoplasty for age-related macular degeneration: reengineering Bruch's membrane and the human macula

Prog Retin Eye Res. 2006 Nov;25(6):539-62. doi: 10.1016/j.preteyeres.2006.08.001. Epub 2006 Oct 30.


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the western world. Over the last decade, there have been significant advances in the management of exudative AMD with the introduction of anti-VEGF drugs; however, many patients with exudative AMD continue to lose vision and there are no effective treatments for advanced exudative AMD or geographic atrophy. Initial attempts at macular reconstruction using cellular transplantation have not been effective in reversing vision loss. Herein we discuss the current status of surgical attempts to reconstruct damaged subretinal anatomy in advanced AMD. We reinforce the concept of maculoplasty for advanced AMD, which is defined as reconstruction of macular anatomy in patients with advanced vision loss. Successful maculoplasty is a three-step process that includes replacing or repairing damaged cells (using transplantation, translocation or stimulation of autologous cell proliferation); immune suppression (if allografts are used to replace damaged cells); and reconstruction or replacement of Bruch's membrane (to restore the integrity of the substrate for proper cell attachment). In the current article we will review the rationale for maculoplasty in advanced AMD, and discuss the results of initial clinical attempts at macular reconstruction. We will then discuss the role of Bruch's membrane damage in limiting transplant survival and visual recovery, and discuss the effects of age-related changes within human Bruch's membrane on the initial attachment and subsequent proliferation of transplanted cells. We will discuss attempts to repair Bruch's membrane by coating with extracellular matrix ligands, anatomic reconstitution of the inner collagen layer, and the effects of Bruch's membrane reconstruction of ultrastuctural anatomy and subsequent cell behavior. Lastly, we will emphasize the importance of continued efforts required for successful maculoplasty.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bruch Membrane / cytology
  • Bruch Membrane / transplantation*
  • Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Humans
  • Macula Lutea / cytology
  • Macula Lutea / transplantation*
  • Macular Degeneration / pathology
  • Macular Degeneration / surgery*
  • Tissue Engineering*
  • Treatment Outcome