Background: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common cause of visual impairment in individuals >55 years of age worldwide. The varying clinical phenotypes of AMD result from contributions of genetic, epigenetic, and nongenetic (environmental) factors. Genetic studies of AMD have come of age as a direct result of tremendous gains from the human genome project, genome-wide association studies, and identification of numerous susceptibility loci. These findings have implicated immune response, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol metabolism, extracellular matrix, and angiogenesis signaling pathways in disease pathophysiology.
Main outcome measures: Herein, we address how the wealth of genetic findings in AMD is expected to impact the practice of medicine, providing opportunities for improved risk assessment, molecular diagnosis, preventive, and therapeutic intervention.
Conclusions: We propose that the potential of using genetic variants for monitoring treatment response (pharmacogenetics) may usher in a new era of personalized medicine in the clinical management of AMD.
Financial disclosure(s): Proprietary or commercial disclosures may be found after the references.
Copyright © 2012 American Academy of Ophthalmology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.