Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is still referred to as the leading cause of severe and irreversible visual loss world-wide. The disease has a profound effect on quality of life of affected individuals and represents a major socioeconomic challenge for societies due to the exponential increase in life expectancy and environmental risks. Advances in medical research have identified vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) as an important pathophysiological player in neovascular AMD and intraocular inhibition of VEGF as one of the most efficient therapies in medicine. The wide introduction of anti-VEGF therapy has led to an overwhelming improvement in the prognosis of patients affected by neovascular AMD, allowing recovery and maintenance of visual function in the vast majority of patients. However, the therapeutic benefit is accompanied by significant economic investments, unresolved medicolegal debates about the use of off-label substances and overwhelming problems in large population management. The burden of disease has turned into a burden of care with a dissociation of scientific advances and real-world clinical performance. Simultaneously, ground-breaking innovations in diagnostic technologies, such as optical coherence tomography, allows unprecedented high-resolution visualisation of disease morphology and provides a promising horizon for early disease detection and efficient therapeutic follow-up. However, definite conclusions from morphologic parameters are still lacking, and valid biomarkers have yet to be identified to provide a practical base for disease management. The European Society of Retina Specialists offers expert guidance for diagnostic and therapeutic management of neovascular AMD supporting healthcare givers and doctors in providing the best state-of-the-art care to their patients.
Trial registration number: NCT01318941.
Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://group.bmj.com/group/rights-licensing/permissions.