Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects people over the age of 50, and happens when the macula – the central part of the retina – is damaged. There are two forms of AMD:

  • Dry AMD: The cells beneath the retina begin to thin and age and drusen deposits accumulate. It usually advances slowly but can be unpredictable and turn into wet AMD.
  • Wet AMD: Abnormal blood vessels grow below the retina, causing blood and fluid to leak, damaging macular cells. Wet AMD can occur suddenly and can very quickly lead to vision loss if untreated.

Depending on the type and stage of the disease, people with AMD typically experience blurriness, distortion, or blind spots in the centre of their sightline. It can also affect your ability to distinguish colours.

If you have any of the following AMD symptoms, see your eye doctor immediately:

  • Blurred central vision
  • Growing central blind spot or other blank spots in your vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Difficulty recognizing faces, reading, or focusing on details
  • Straight lines appearing wavy, distorted, or crooked
  • Loss of colour perception

Diagnosis and treatment

Your eye doctor can do tests to determine if you have AMD and help you decide what to do next. Depending on your type and stage of AMD, different treatment options are available including:

  • Vitamin formulations that may slow the progression of dry AMD
  • Laser treatments that may stop blood vessels from growing and leaking
  • Ocular injections of “anti-VEGF” drugs that may stop the formation of blood vessels

These treatments aren’t one size fits all. They have different benefits and risks. Talk with your eye doctor so you can make an informed choice.

Learn more about AMD by consulting with your eye doctor. Don’t have one? You can find an optometrist by clicking here or find an ophthalmologist by clicking here.