Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss of those over the age of 65 in the industrialized world. The prevalence and need to develop effective treatments for AMD has lead to the development of multiple animal models. AMD is a complex and heterogeneous disease that involves the interaction of both genetic and environmental factors with the unique anatomy of the human macula. Models in mice, rats, rabbits, pigs and non-human primates have recreated many of the histological features of AMD and provided much insight into the underlying pathological mechanisms of this disease. In spite of the large number of models developed, no one model yet recapitulates all of the features of human AMD. However, these models have helped reveal the roles of chronic oxidative damage, inflammation and immune dysregulation, and lipid metabolism in the development of AMD. Models for induced choroidal neovascularization have served as the backbone for testing new therapies. This article will review the diversity of animal models that exist for AMD as well as their strengths and limitations.
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