Metformin, a common type 2 diabetes drug marketed commonly as Glucophage, has shown promise as a treatment for age-related macular degeneration according to recent tests in mice at the University of Florida. According to John D. Ash, Ph.D. and associate professor and the Francis M. Bullard Eminent Scholar Chair in Ophthalmic Sciences in the UF College of Medicine’s department of ophthalmology research, the use of Metformin has shown signs that in addition to reducing the amount of sugar in the blood, it also stimulates the metabolism in retinal cells.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration or AMD is a common eye condition and a leading cause of vision loss among people age 50 and older. It causes damage to the macula, a small spot near the center of the retina and the part of the eye needed for sharp, central vision, which lets us see objects that are straight ahead.
In some people, AMD advances so slowly that vision loss takes a very long time. In others, the disease progresses faster and may lead to a loss of vision in one or both eyes. As AMD progresses, a blurred area near the center of vision is a common symptom. Over time, the blurred area may grow larger or you may develop blank spots in your central vision. Objects also may not appear to be as bright as they used to be.
AMD by itself does not lead to complete blindness, with no ability to see. However, the loss of central vision in AMD can interfere with simple everyday activities, such as the ability to see faces, drive, read, write, or do close work, such as cooking or fixing things around the house.
There is no known cure for AMD, so early detection can help slow the advancement of the disease.
If Metformin delivers similar results in humans, it could provide Optometrists and Ophthalmologists with another weapon to combat AMD. Funding for the study was provided by Research to Prevent Blindness, the Foundation Fighting Blindness and the National Eye Institute.