What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a problem with your retina. It happens when a part of the retina called the macula is damaged. With AMD you lose your central vision. You cannot see fine details, whether you are looking at something close or far, but your peripheral (side) vision will still be normal. For instance, imagine you are looking at a clock with hands. With AMD, you might see the clock’s numbers but not the hands.

Who is at risk for AMD?

Seniors are at risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness among older Americans. AMD deteriorates your central vision and can lead to permanent vision loss if left untreated.

5 things every senior should know about AMD-related vision loss.

AMD often has no early warning signs.

In its early stages, AMD may not have any symptoms. Once it has progressed, the central vision deteriorates, making it difficult to recognize faces or read. There are two types of AMD – dry and wet. Wet AMD causes the majority of AMD-related vision loss.

Early diagnosis, better prognosis!

Medical eye exams are critical to diagnosing AMD in its early stages, monitoring its progression and, if it advances to wet AMD, starting treatment before vision deteriorates. An eye exam could save you from going blind!

Don’t wait – risk increases with age.

AMD often occurs as part of the body’s aging process. At age 65 it affects about 1 person in 100, but after age 80, it affects nearly 12 people in 100! Age also increases the risk for other common eye diseases such as glaucoma and cataracts, which can be identified during an eye exam.

Smoking increases the risk and progression of AMD.

Numerous studies can increase the risk of AMD as well as the speed at which the disease progresses. Quitting smoking can lower your risk of AMD, but if you’ve ever smoked, you should get a medical eye exam to asses the health of your eyes.

AMD treatments are better than ever.

Ten years ago, having wet AMD could invariably lead to blindness. Since then, new treatments have been developed to treat wet AMD with great success.

Those with dry AMD can use simple low vision techniques and aids to help them better utilize their existing vision.

More info from American Academy of Ophthalmology


Information on this page is from an infographic provided by the American Academy of Opthalmology.