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Macular Degeneration

What is macular degeneration?

The macula is the central area at the back of the eye responsible for detailed vision such as reading, writing and recognising faces.
Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is when the macula becomes damaged. There are two types of Macular Degeneration (AMD): Dry and Wet.

Dry AMD - is when waste products build up at the macula. In its early stages there is little effect on vision, however, as the condition worsens people notice a slow change in vision. They may have difficulty with subtitles, signs or reading. Dry AMD can become Wet AMD.

Wet AMD - occurs when fluid or blood leaks from abnormal blood vessels at the macula. People typically notice distortion, where straight lines or edges look wavy, or a blank spot in the centre of their vision. Wet AMD can cause loss of vision and requires urgent treatment. 

As AMD only affects central vision, your side or peripheral vision remains. This means you may still see well enough to get around.


Dry AMD - There is currently no treatment for Dry AMD although eating certain foods or taking eye supplements can help slow it down. People with this condition should have their eyes examined regularly and keep their glasses up to date.

Wet AMD - If caught on time Wet AMD can usually be treated with injections. The aim of treatment is to preserve unaffected vision as well as re-establish some vision if treated on time. If you notice any sudden changes to your vision, contact your optometrist straight away.

Risk factors for AMD

  • Increasing age
  • Smoking
  • Family History or Macular Degeneration
  • Being of female gender
  • Ethnicity (caucasians are more at risk), lighter eye colour
  • High blood pressure, cholestoral and cardiovascular disease
  • Poor diet, obesity