Role of Zinc and HAP in Inducing Sub-Retinal Pigmented Epithelium Deposits and Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Richard Thompson, PhD University of Maryland School of Medicine

Co-Principal Investigators

Imre Lengyel, PhD University College London


We have discovered what appears to be an early step in the process of developing deposits known as drusen in the aging retina, which can lead to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). We believe that zinc and inflammation are involved, and have developed a method for visualizing when the step has occurred in the intact eye. The thrust of our project is to see how zinc and inflammation are involved in this step, and how early and broadly the step may occur in ordinary eyes: does the step happen at 40 years of age, or at 60 years of age, and does it occur in everybody? We anticipate our visualization method may be usable as a screening test for AMD (patent pending), and that our improved understanding of how AMD develops may lead to new, early treatments.