AMD is a degenerative disease that affects the central area of the retina called the macula. The early stage of AMD may not have any symptoms and can be picked up on a routine eye check-up.
There are two late stages of AMD:
- Dry AMD- develops slowly and results in gradual vision loss
- Wet AMD- develops more rapidly and occurs when abnormal vessels grow beneath the retina and bleed.
How common is AMD?
Age-related macular degeneration is the most prevalent after the age of 50 years. One in seven people over 50 are affected by AMD. Two out of three people over 90 will develop AMD, and one in four in that age group experience significant loss of vision from it.
What are the symptoms?
- Blurred or distorted vision
- Slow recovery of visual function after exposure to bright light
- Reduced central vision.
What are the causes?
The causes of age-related macular degeneration are currently not fully understood. Evidence suggests the condition has a genetic link. People with a family history of AMD have a four-fold increased risk of developing AMD. Other risk factors associated with AMD include ageing and smoking.
Can I prevent AMD?
A healthy diet with fresh fruit and leafy green vegetables, and not smoking may help reduce the risk of developing AMD.
- Smoking increases the risk three times.
What treatment is available?
‘Wet’ AMD is often treated with injections into the eye however there is no effective treatment for dry AMD at present. Low vision aids and services offer support for people with age-related macular degeneration.
The Macular Research Unit at the Centre for Eye Research Australia is working on a wide range of projects to improve diagnosis and treatment for AMD and to progress towards a cure. Professor Robyn Guymer leads the unit and is a recognised world leader in research and clinical management of AMD.
How can I help?