Maculopathy is an ocular pathology, characterized by a degeneration of the central retina, and in particular the macula, a small area rich in photoreceptors, the nerve cells sensitive to light. The luminous energy is thus transformed into electrical stimuli, which, through the optic nerve, reach the brain. If the macula is damaged, there are important repercussions on vision.
Professor Paolo Vinciguerra, Head of the Eye Centre in Humanitas, spoke about maculopathy in an interview, the importance of early diagnosis and how drugs are increasingly selective.
The two forms of maculopathy
Two forms of maculopathy are distinguished: dry senile maculopathy and exudative senile maculopathy, both responsible for retinal damage.
The dry form is caused by a progressive atrophy of the tissue; the exudative form (wet) is due to the presence of new capillaries, which, if broken, pour blood and serum onto the retina and destroy the macula.
The importance of early diagnosis
Diagnosing maculopathy in advance is crucial. A useful diagnostic test is the OCT (consistent light tomography). It consists of a stratigraphy that is able to see the alterations of the different layers of the retina,” explains Professor Vinciguerra. The OCT angiogram is also useful, which “provides a three-dimensional reconstruction of the vessels of the retina and it is a non-invasive examination”.
The drugs against maculopathy
“The drugs that combat the neovascular pathogenesis of maculopathy are becoming increasingly selective,” explains Professor Vinciguerra. In fact, these drugs have evolved considerably over time, moving from non-specific to more targeted and therefore long-lasting drugs.
The so-called VEGF drugs, which inhibit vascular proliferation, are increasingly proving their effectiveness. They have become more targeted and the time intervals between injections are longer,” concludes the professor.