In the UK, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects more than 600,000 people. One in ten people over the age of 65 are estimated to have some degree of AMD, and it is the leading cause of sight loss in the UK.
Even though AMD effects so many of us, a lot of people don’t know what the condition is and how to stop the effects and symptoms.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide for everything you need to know about AMD.
What is AMD?
AMD is a painless eye condition which causes you to lose the central vision in your eyes.
AMD affects your vision by causing changes to the macula. The macula is found in the back of the eye and is the most sensitive part of the retina.
Made up of millions of light-sensing cells, the macula sends electrical signals to the brain which make up the images that we see.
If the macula is damaged, the centre of your vision will look blurry, distorted or dark.
Because AMD affects only the macula, it doesn’t cause a total loss of vision. When the central vision is lost, it affects what you see when you look directly at something. AMD makes many parts of daily life harder, including reading, recognising faces, watching television and driving. It also makes colours appear less vibrant.
There are two main types of AMD, dry and wet.
Dry AMD is the most common type of AMD. It is caused by the cells of the macula being damaged by a build-up of deposits called drusen. With dry AMD, the vision loss is very gradual and can occur over many years.
Wet AMD is more serious than dry AMD. It happens when abnormal blood vessels form underneath the macula, damaging the cells. Without treatment to stop new blood vessels forming, wet AMD can destroy the eyesight within days.
AMD is painless and often has no symptoms. While there is no cure for AMD, if you notice any deterioration with your eyesight, book an eye test as soon as possible.