Enabling Treatment Trials of Atrophic Age-Related Macular Degeneration Using Novel Microperimetry Techniques

Zhichao Wu, PhD Centre for Eye Research Australia


The loss of tissue responsible for vision is a complication of the condition called age-related macular degeneration that remains untreatable. To help the discovery of new treatments, better ways of measuring whether a potential treatment is actually having a meaningful positive effect is needed. This project therefore examines whether a new method to measure the ability to perceive different light levels within the area where tissue loss is occurring could help us better evaluate promising new treatments.

Project Details

The overall aim of this project is to develop a powerful new vision tests to accurately capture the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) so that it can be used to evaluate new treatments in this condition. Specifically, we will evaluate two different approaches on a technique called “microperimetry”, a test that measures one’s ability to detect different light levels, that are tailored to the specific stage of the disease. The first approach will involve mapping the spatial extent of central light sensitivity vision loss, and this approach will be compared to conventional imaging-based measurements, in eyes with established signs of atrophic AMD (where patches of tissue responsible for vision inside the eye are lost). The second approach will involve high-density, targeted light sensitivity measurements of the areas showing the earliest signs of atrophic AMD, as there is currently no effective means of tracking the functional loss of these earliest signs. These approaches that will be evaluated are unique as they will be tailored to the specific stage of the disease process in AMD. Furthermore, these approaches innovatively exploit the high-level of precision afforded by the new technique of microperimetry to accurately track disease progression in these individuals with atrophic AMD. The findings of this project will provide a framework that can be immediately used to evaluate new interventions that are currently being developed. This framework has the potential to dramatically reduce the sample size needed for clinical trials of these new interventions, thereby making them more feasible and acting as a catalyst for the discovery of a first intervention for atrophic AMD.