Age-related Macular Degeneration

What is Age-related Macular Degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is a condition that affects the center of the retina, called the macula^1^. The macula is the part of the eye responsible for our most acute vision, which we use when reading, driving, and performing other activities that require fine, sharp, or straight-ahead vision^1^.

There are two different types of AMD^1^:

  • Dry macular degeneration - Small yellow deposits, known as drusen^2^, accumulate under the macula. Eventually, these deposits are disruptive to vision cells, causing them to slowly break down. With less of the macula working, this causes a gradual loss of central vision as time goes on. This is the most common form of AMD, affecting approximately 90%^1^ of people who have the disease.
  • Wet macular degeneration - New blood vessels start to grow in areas of the macula where they shouldn’t be^1^. This causes rapid damage to the macula that can lead to the loss of central vision in a short period of time. Although this type of AMD affects only about 10% of people with the disease, it is responsible for 90% of severe vision loss associated with AMD^3^.


While the causes of AMD may be unknown; things like age, smoking, diet, obesity, exposure to sunlight, high blood pressure and family history of AMD appear to play a role^1^.




1. NHS. (2015) Macular Degeneration. Available at: []
2. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Available at: []
3. Macular Degeneration Partnership. Available at: []
4.All About Vision. (2016) What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration? Available at: []
5. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Macular Degeneration Treatment. (2016) Available at: []


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