Eye Health and Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Q: What is AMD? The initials AMD are an abbreviation for a disorder called age-related macular degeneration. AMD is a degenerative disease that affects the macula, a small spot in the central area of the retina located at the back of the eye. The macula is responsible for sight in the center of the field of vision and is the most sensitive part of the retina. The condition affects central vision.

Q: Who is at risk for AMD?
 Age-related macular degeneration is the most common cause of new cases of visual impairment among those over age 65. A tendency to develop AMD may be seen in some families because of genetic factors. AMD may be associated with arteriosclerosis, hereditary factors, eye trauma, or other conditions that are not yet clearly understood.

Q: What are the symptoms of AMD?
 As AMD progresses, symptoms become obvious. Noticeable symptoms may be: Straight lines in your field of vision, such as telephone poles, the sides of buildings and street light posts may appear blurry Type in books, magazines, and newspapers appears blurry Dark or empty spaces may block the center of your vision

Q: What is the best defense against AMD? Early diagnosis of AMD by an eye doctor is very important. Fortunately, AMD almost never results in complete blindness since side vision is usually not affected. However, when a substantial amount of central vision is lost, people with AMD may find it very difficult to do simple, everyday activities that require sharp vision.

Consult your MD for directions and advice specific to your needs.

* Reprinted with permission from PREVENT BLINDNESS AMERICA. Copyright 2002 –