What is it?
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common condition affecting the central part of your vision. It is the leading cause of severe vision loss in adults over 60. It occurs when the small central part of your retina, known as the macula, wears down. It doesn’t cause blindness but it can make everyday activities such as reading and recognising faces difficult. AMD isn’t painful and doesn’t affect the appearance of your eyes.
Symptoms of AMD
AMD affects the central part of your vision only. It’s possible to get it in one eye only or both eyes. The initial symptom is usually a blurred or distorted area in your vision. As it progresses, you may struggle to see anything in the centre of your vision.
Other symptoms include:
- Seeing straight lines as wavy or crooked
- Objects looking smaller than normal
- Colours seeming less bright than they used to
- Seeing things that aren’t there (hallucinations)
If you have age related macular degeneration, try to:
- Eat a healthy diet
- Stop smoking
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise regularly
You may also be at a higher risk of AMD if you have a family history of the condition
The different types of AMD and treatments
There are 2 types of AMD:
Dry AMD Wet AMD
Caused by a build-up of a fatty Caused by the growth of abnormal substance called drusen in the blood vessels from underneath the macula macula
Common Less common
Gets worse gradually – usually Can get worse quickly – sometimes
Over several years Over a period of several days or weeks
Although there is no treatment for dry AMD, low vision aids can help reduce the effect on your life. If you have wet AMD, you may need regular eye injections to prevent your vision from deteriorating. If injections alone aren’t working, light treatment may also be given for wet AMD. This involves shining a very bright light at the back of the eye to destroy the abnormal blood vessels. This usually has to be repeated every few months to achieve the optimum result.
Article written by Sight Cymru’s Sight Awareness Project Officer, Esther Weller.