Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a retinal disorder that attacks the macula of the eye, which is where the sharpest central vision occurs. It is one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness in the U.S. AMD affects about 10 million Americans — which is twice the occurrence of Alzheimer’s and equal to the number of all cancers.

AMD grows more common with age, therefore as the overall population ages, the prevalence of this devastating disease is expected to double to 20 million cases during the next 10 years. Despite its commonness, there are still gaps in scientists’ knowledge about the disease, and treatments target only complications of AMD, not its underlying pathology.

The UAB Department of Ophthalmology is pioneering research to fill in those knowledge gaps and help develop more effective treatments.

Meet our AMD Research Faculty

  • Eye site offers new insight on age-related macular degeneration

    ProjectMacula Curcio

    Over the past 14 years, Christine A. Curcio, Ph.D., a professor in the UAB School of Medicine’s Department of Ophthalmology, has collected images from hundreds of donor eyes in her search for the basic mechanisms underlying age-related macular degeneration. AMD is the leading cause of severe vision loss and legal blindness in Americans age 60 or older, affecting up to 15 million people in the United States today and almost 200 million people worldwide by 2020. As the population ages, those numbers will only increase. AMD occurs when the central portion of the retina, known as the macula, deteriorates. But the exact cause is unknown, and new treatments are desperately needed.

  • Grandmother’s vision struggle motivates young woman to make a difference

    Curcio Owsley AseemAs a young girl in Afghanistan, Fazila Aseem watched her grandmother struggle to complete daily tasks independently due to vision loss. Her grandmother was unable to see well enough to prepare a simple meal for herself, and there was nothing Afghan doctors could do to restore or repair her vision.

  • UAB Seeks Answers to Age-Related Macular Degeneration

    Zhang AMD

    Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) causes central vision loss in millions of Americans, interfering with everyday tasks such as driving, reading, and recognizing faces.

  • Curcio honored for contributions to vision research

    Curcioatmicro webChristine A. Curcio, Ph.D., professor of ophthalmology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, is the recipient of the 2014 Ludwig von Sallmann Prize, awarded to an individual for significant contributions to vision research and ophthalmology. This is Curcio's third international award in 13 years for her research on aging and AMD. The award is conferred by the Ludwig von Sallmann Foundation at the biennial meeting of the International Society for Eye Research; it honors the internationally respected ophthalmologist and researcher for which it is named.

  • Thomas Ach, M.D., Awarded First Prize at German Ophthalmology Meeting

    ThomasAch smallThomas Ach, M.D., a research fellow in the laboratory of Christine A. Curcio, Ph.D., in the Department of Ophthalmology, was recently awarded first prize among 130 poster presenters at the annual meeting of the Deutsche Ophthalmologische Gesellschaft, the German equivalent of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
  • Curcio named Eminent Scholar in Retina

    Christine A. Curcio, PhD, Professor in Ophthalmology, was recently named Eminent Scholar in Retina by Christopher A. Girkin, MD, MSPH, Chair of Ophthalmology and Chief Medical Officer, Callahan Eye Hospital. This recognizes research accomplishments in the pathobiology of age-related macular degeneration establishing a molecular commonality with atherosclerotic vascular disease. Dr. Curcio’s work was recently featured in EyeNet, the trade journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.