The lab recently published a study in which blood vessel density was examined in 143 human donor eyes with healthy aging, early stage age-related macular degeneration, and advanced "dry" macular degeneration (geographic atrophy).
In this cohort we observed a loss of the choriocapillaris layer both in early macular degeneration and with much greater loss in geographic atrophy. Importantly, loss of choriocapillaris blood vessels was striking even in areas of intact retinal pigment epithelium. These findings support the concept that choroidal vascular degeneration, predominantly in the microvasculature, contributes to dry AMD progression. Addressing capillary loss in macular degeneration, prior to vessel death (using protective strategies) and after the cells have died (using stem cell replacement strategies) is a critical target in macular degeneration.