Retinal Diseases

The retina is the light-sensitive layer of tissue that lines the inside of the eye and sends visual messages through the optic nerve to the brain. The retina is susceptible to a number of diseases—including uveitis, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and diabetes—that affect this vital tissue, affecting vision and potentially causing blindness.1

Learn more about Uveitis >
Learn more about AMD >


Uveitis is a term describing a group of inflammatory conditions that affect the eye, resulting in reduced vision or blindness. This disease typically affects individuals in the prime of their working lives, between the ages of 20 and 60 years, so vision loss is a major concern.2 Approximately 70% of uveitis patients suffer from some degree of vision loss a majority of the time.3

Uveitis can be acute or chronic in nature, depending on the duration of clinical signs and symptoms.4 It can be further classified by the location of the affected tissue2:

  • | Anterior uveitis occurs in the front of the eye and is the most common form of uveitis.2
  • | Intermediate uveitis predominantly affects the middle of the eye (ciliary body and vitreous) and the peripheral retina.2
  • | Posterior uveitis is the least common form of uveitis, primarily affecting the back of the eye (choroid and retina).2
  • | Panuveitis describes a condition where the entire eye is affected
    by uveitis.2

Intermediate, posterior, and panuveitis are the most severe forms of uveitis and can be highly recurrent and lead to blindness if not properly treated.2

Santen is currently developing IVT sirolimus (DE-109) for the treatment of noninfectious uveitis affecting the posterior segment of the eye (intermediate, posterior, and panuveitis).

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

AMD is a condition that damages the macula, a small sensitive spot in the retina that allows for sharp central vision and the ability to see clearly straight ahead. The blurring or darkening of this center field of vision can interfere with everyday activities, such as driving, reading, seeing faces, or doing close-up work.5

AMD is responsible for nearly half of all severe vision loss in US adults over age 40.6 Age is a major risk factor. Others include smoking and a family history of the disease.5

AMD can occur in one eye or both. Early-stage AMD has few symptoms and doesn’t always progress to late-stage.5

There are 2 types of late-stage AMD5:

  • | Dry AMD evolves more slowly and involves a gradual breakdown of both the supporting tissue beneath the macula and the light-sensitive cells within the macula that convey visual information to the brain. This can lead to vision loss.5
  • | Wet AMD involves the growth of abnormal blood vessels under the retina that can leak fluid and blood, and cause swelling and damage to the macula. Damage to the eye can be quick and severe and leads to vision loss. Both dry and wet AMD can occur in the same eye.5


  1. National Institutes of Health. National Eye Institute. Retinal diseases program – National plan for eye and vision research (NEI strategic planning). Available at: Accessed on January 28, 2019.
  2. National Institutes of Health. National Eye Institute. Facts about uveitis. Available at: Accessed on January 28, 2019.
  3. de Smet MD, Taylor SRJ, Bodaghi B, et al. Understanding uveitis: the impact of research on visual outcomes. Prog Retin Eye Res 2011;30:452-470.
  4. Jabs DA, Busingye J. Approach to the diagnosis of uveitis. Am J Ophthalmol 2013;156:228-236.
  5. National Institutes of Health. National Eye Institute. Facts about age-related macular degeneration. Available at: Accessed on January 28, 2019.
  6. American Academy of Ophthalmology Retina/Vitreous Panel. Preferred Practice Pattern® Guidelines. Age-Related Macular Degeneration. San Francisco, CA: American Academy of Ophthalmology; 2015.


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