Adult Macular Degeneration
(Age-Related Macular Degeneration, AMD)
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Adult macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease that results in a loss in central vision that gets worse over time. The macula is the part of the retina that controls central vision. The retina is the tissue that lines the back of the eye. AMD happens when the macula wears down.
There are 2 types:
The cause is not known. It may be due to a combination of genetics and the environment.
This problem is more common in adults 50 years of age and older. It is also more common in people with dark-colored eyes.
Other things that may raise the risk are:
In some people, AMD slowly gets worse and has little effect on vision. In others, it moves quickly and may lead to significant vision loss. It does not cause pain.
Problems may be:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. This may be enough to suspect AMD.
A doctor who treats eyes will do an eye exam and view the retina. This can confirm the diagnosis.
Some people may need images taken of the eyes. This can be done with:
Treatment depends on the type and severity of AMD.
Dry AMD cannot be treated. These things may slow the disease:
The goal of treating wet AMD is to reduce or destroy new blood vessels. Choices are:
To lower the risk of this problem:
American Macular Degeneration Foundation
Macular Degeneration Foundation
AMD Alliance International
Canadian Association of Optometrists
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/age-related-macular-degeneration-amd. Accessed October 29, 2020.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD). National Eye Institute website. Available at: https://nei.nih.gov/health/maculardegen. Accessed October 29, 2020.
American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). Preferred Practice Pattern guidelines on age-related macular degeneration. AAO 2015 Jan.
Macular degeneration. Macular Degeneration Foundation website. Available at: https://eyesight.org/macular-degeneration. Accessed October 29, 2020.
What is macular degeneration? American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at:
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Accessed October 29, 2020.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board James P. Cornell, MD