What is age related macular degeneration (AMD)?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye condition that affects a tiny part of the retina at the back of your eye, called the macula. AMD causes problems with your central vision, but does not lead to total loss of sight and is not painful.

At the moment, the exact cause for AMD is unknown, but some things are thought to increase your chances of developing AMD, including your age, lifestyle, your genes, sunlight and what you eat.

Everyone can have slightly different symptoms, but usually the first thing you’ll notice is that it’s harder to see detail, such as small print. You may find that your vision has a small blurred area in the centre. Straight lines may look distorted or wavy, or like there’s a little bump in them. You may also find that you’re more sensitive to bright light.

There are 2 types of AMD - dry and wet. Dry AMD causes gradual vision loss, while wet AMD is more aggressive and can lead to significant central vision loss in a shorter period of time. Some people may have wet AMD in one eye, and dry AMD in the other, which doesn’t develop into wet AMD. Most people, however, have the same type of AMD in both eyes.

For further information on the treatment of AMD, see Is there any treatment for age related macular degeneration (AMD)?

You can get further advice and support from the Macular Society by calling 0300 3030 1111 or visiting macularsociety.org.

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