What is AMD?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of sight loss in the UK – affecting more than 600,000 people. It typically affects people over 50 but can happen earlier.

The macula is an area at the back of your eye which is responsible for your central vision, most of your colour vision and making out fine detail. When the macula is damaged it then becomes harder to read, watch TV or to recognise faces.  Your peripheral vision (the edge of your vision) is not normally affected.

It is not painful and it does not affect the appearance of your eyes. 

There are two forms of AMD – dry and wet.

What is dry AMD?

Dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common type of AMD and happens as we age.  It is a gradual deterioration of the macula as the retinal cells die off and are not renewed.  The progression of dry AMD varies, but people often carry on as normal for some time as the deterioration happens over a period of years.

There is no treatment for dry AMD. However, there are some steps that you can take that may help reduce the risk of the condition from getting worse. 

What is wet AMD?

Wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) develops when abnormal blood vessels grow into the macula. These leak blood or fluid which leads to scarring of the macula and rapid loss of central vision.  Wet AMD can develop very suddenly, but it can now be treated if caught quickly.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms can vary but may include:

The symptoms are similar for dry and wet AMD but wet AMD happens quicker and deteriorates more rapidly so it is more noticeable.

What causes AMD?

The cause of AMD is not known but there are a number of factors associated with the development of the condition.

Can I drive if I have AMD?

Having AMD can make it unsafe for your drive.  Ask your ophthalmologist or specialist if you should stop driving.  You are required by law to advise the DVLA of your condition if have been told you may not meet the visual standards for driving by a GP, optometrist or eye specialist.


For practical advice or for more information about AMD visit https://www.macularsociety.org/ or

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/age-related-macular-degeneration-amd/ or