What is age-related macular degeneration (AMD)?

AMD is a painless eye condition which affects the small central part of your retina at the back of your eye, called the macula.

The macula is responsible for your detailed central vision (the vision you use when looking straight at something),  which is needed to recognize faces, drive and read. As such, AMD affects your central detailed vision, but not usually your peripheral (side) vision.

Approximately 600,000 people in the UK currently have sight loss caused by AMD, and 70,000 new cases are diagnosed every year (that’s nearly 200 a day!). It is the most common cause of sight loss in the developed world and the third most common globally.

Types of AMD

There are two different types of AMD – wet AMD and dry AMD.


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With Dry AMD, your macula gradually deteriorates as the cells which make it up die off and are not replaced over time.

Dry AMD is more common than wet AMD, and develops more slowly over time (sometimes it can take years for dry AMD to reach its final stage).

Having dry AMD does not mean you have dry eyes.

    Wet AMD

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    Wet AMD develops when your body grows new blood vessels to try and fix cells which have stopped working properly in the macula. These abnormal blood vessels can cause leakage of fluid and/or blood, which damages the macula and leads to vision loss.

    Wet AMD accounts for 10-15% of people who develop AMD, and many have had dry AMD to start with. It can develop much faster than dry AMD, and you may notice significant changes in your central vision in the space of just a few days or weeks.

    Find out how Assistive Technology helps to manage tasks made difficult by low vision and blindness.

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