Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) – Symptoms & Treatment

Tue Feb 02 2021
age related macular degeneration

Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a common eye condition that affects the macula, the central part of the retina responsible for sharp, central vision. It is the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 50.

In this blog post, we will explore the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and age related macular degeneration treatment options, as well as lifestyle changes and prevention strategies to reduce the risk of developing this condition.

Understanding Age Related Macular Degeneration

To understand macular degeneration of the eye, it is important to know how the macula functions. The macula is responsible for providing clear, central vision, which allows us to perform activities such as reading, driving, and recognizing faces.

AMD occurs when the macula deteriorates over time, leading to blurred or distorted vision. The exact cause of AMD is unknown, but factors such as aging, genetics, and smoking can increase the risk of developing the condition.

Common Symptoms of AMD

The symptoms of AMD may vary depending on the stage of the condition. Common symptoms include:

  1. Blurred or distorted vision
  2. Difficulty recognizing faces
  3. Straight lines appearing wavy or crooked
  4. Dark or empty areas in the central vision
  5. Decreased color brightness or intensity

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to consult an eye care professional for a comprehensive eye examination.

Causes of Age Related Macular Degeneration

The exact causes of macular degeneration of the eye are still not fully understood. However, certain risk factors have been identified that may contribute to the development of the condition. These include:

  • Aging: AMD is more common in individuals over the age of 50.
  • Genetics: Having a family history of AMD increases the risk.
  • Smoking: Smoking has been linked to a higher incidence of AMD.
  • Race: Caucasians are more likely to develop AMD compared to other racial groups.
  • Gender: Women are more likely to develop AMD than men.

While these risk factors increase the likelihood of developing AMD, they do not guarantee the development of the condition. It is important to note that Age Related Macular Degeneration can also occur in individuals without any known risk factors.

Dry Macular Degeneration vs. Wet Macular Degeneration

There are two main types of AMD: dry AMD and wet AMD.

Dry AMD is the more common form and occurs when the macula thins and small deposits called drusen accumulate. This can lead to gradual central vision loss. Drusen are yellow deposits that build up under the retina, causing the macula to become thinner and less effective at processing visual information. As a result, individuals with dry AMD may experience a gradual blurring of their central vision, making it challenging to read, drive, or recognize faces.

On the other hand, wet age related macular degeneration is less common but more severe. It occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow beneath the macula, leaking fluid and blood. These leaky blood vessels can cause sudden and significant vision loss if left untreated, as the fluid and blood can damage the surrounding retinal tissue. This type of AMD often progresses more rapidly than dry AMD and requires prompt intervention to prevent permanent vision impairment.

It is important to detect and manage wet age related macular degeneration as early as possible to prevent permanent vision loss.

Diagnosis And Risk Factors

Diagnosing Age Related Macular Degeneration involves a comprehensive eye examination, which may include the following:

Visual acuity test: Measures how well you see at various distances.

Dilated eye exam: Allows the eye care professional to examine the back of the eye, including the macula.

Optical coherence tomography (OCT): Produces cross-sectional images of the retina, helping to detect abnormalities.

Fluorescein angiography: Involves injecting a dye into the bloodstream to highlight blood vessels in the retina, aiding in the diagnosis of wet AMD.

In addition to these diagnostic tests, several risk factors may increase the likelihood of developing AMD.

Treatment Options for AMD

While there is currently no cure, there are age related macular degeneration treatment options available to help manage the condition and slow down its progression.

For dry AMD, treatment primarily focuses on lifestyle changes and the use of nutritional supplements, such as vitamins, minerals, & antioxidants which have been shown to reduce the risk of advanced AMD.

Wet AMD can be treated with intravitreal injections, which involve injecting medication directly into the eye to stop the growth of abnormal blood vessels. Other treatment options include laser therapy and photodynamic therapy.

It is important to consult an eye care professional to determine the most suitable age related macular degeneration treatment approach based on the specific characteristics of the AMD.

Risks & Complications of Age Related Macular Degeneration

AMD can significantly impact a person’s quality of life and independence. The condition can lead to permanent central vision loss, making it difficult to perform daily activities, such as reading, driving, and recognizing faces. In addition to vision loss, AMD can also increase the risk of depression and social isolation.

It is important to raise awareness about AMD and its potential complications to ensure early detection, timely treatment, and appropriate support for individuals affected by the condition.

Lifestyle Changes and Prevention

While certain risk factors for AMD, such as aging and genetics, cannot be changed, there are lifestyle changes that may help reduce the risk or slow down the progression of the condition. These include:

Quitting smoking: Smoking has been strongly associated with an increased risk of AMD. Quitting smoking can significantly reduce the risk. You can also read on how smoking is injurious to your eyes.

Eating a healthy diet: Consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, and nuts, while limiting processed foods and saturated fats, may help protect against AMD. You can also read on eye health diet tips. 

Regular exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity has been shown to have a positive impact on eye health.

Protecting the eyes from UV radiation: Wearing sunglasses that block UV rays and a wide-brimmed hat can help protect the eyes from harmful UV radiation.

Regular eye exams: Routine eye exams can help detect AMD in its early stages and allow for timely intervention.

By adopting these lifestyle changes and taking proactive measures, individuals can reduce their risk of developing Age Related Macular Degeneration or slow down its progression.


Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a prevalent eye condition that can significantly impact a person’s vision and quality of life. It is important to be aware of the symptoms, risk factors, and available treatment options. By understanding macular degeneration of the eye and taking proactive steps, individuals can maintain good eye health and preserve their vision for as long as possible.

If you experience any changes in your vision or have concerns about AMD, it is crucial to consult an eye care professional for a comprehensive examination and appropriate management.


What is age-related macular degeneration (AMD)?

AMD is an eye condition that affects the macula, leading to gradual central vision deterioration.

Is AMD a common eye condition?

Yes, AMD is a common eye condition, particularly among older adults.

Who is most at risk of developing AMD?

People over 50, those with a family history of AMD, smokers, and individuals with cardiovascular disease are most at risk.

What causes age-related macular degeneration?

AMD is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, including aging, smoking, and poor diet.

How do you deal with age-related macular degeneration?

Management includes lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, quitting smoking), vision aids, and medical treatments like anti-VEGF injections or laser therapy.

Can you reverse age-related macular degeneration?

Currently, there is no cure to reverse AMD, but treatments can slow progression and manage symptoms.

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