Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a common eye condition which causes vision loss that gets worse over time (progressive). The disorder causes damage to the macula, which is the center of the back of the eye (retina). This area helps a person see fine details and perform tasks, such as reading and driving (sharp central vision). AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in adults.
Vision loss caused by AMD usually only affects the center of the eye, allowing affected people to recognize objects on the edges of their vision (peripheral vision). Some cases of AMD cause total blindness. The progression of the disease is painless, making it difficult for affected people to notice that their vision is getting worse until the vision loss is severe. There are 2 major types of AMD: wet AMD and dry AMD. 90% of all cases of AMD are "dry," resulting in slow and gradual vision loss, while the wet form can cause severe and rapid vision loss. Additional information about each form is available in separate description entries.
The cause of AMD is still unclear. Age and genetics are the two most significant risk factors. AMD is usually found in adults over 55 and the risk increases with age. Females are more likely to develop the condition. Smoking also significantly increases the chances of developing the disorder. AMD is usually diagnosed by an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) who uses both a routine eye exam and special eye tests, such as optical coherence tomography (OCT), to look at images of the retina. There is no cure for AMD, but good nutrition and protection from UV rays can help slow or prevent symptoms. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with AMD, talk with a doctor about current treatment options. Support groups can provide additional information and connect you with other families affected by AMD.