Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a complex, multifactorial disease leading to progressive and irreversible retinal degeneration, whose pathogenesis has not been fully elucidated yet. Due to the complexity and to the multiple features of the disease, many efforts have been made to develop animal models which faithfully reproduce the overall AMD hallmarks or that are able to mimic the different AMD stages. In this context, light damage (LD) rodent models of AMD represent a suitable and reliable approach to mimic the different AMD forms (dry, wet and geographic atrophy) while maintaining the time-dependent progression of the disease. In this review, we comprehensively reported how the LD paradigms reproduce the main features of human AMD. We discuss the capability of these models to broaden the knowledge in AMD research, with a focus on the mechanisms and the molecular hallmarks underlying the pathogenesis of the disease. We also critically revise the remaining challenges and future directions for the use of LD models.
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