What is Age-related Macular Degeneration?

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Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a very common degenerative ocular disease. It affects an area of the retina, the macula, preventing central vision, which is essential in everyday activities such as reading, driving or identifying people and objects. AMD is the the primary cause of visual deficiency in industrialized countries.

AMD explained in first person

Professionals and patients explain how you live with the disease
A follow-up of the treatment is essential to maintain a useful vision for years.
I could not watch TV nor anything. I saw everything in black. Now I can see it and I can even read.

Age-related Macular Degeneration, or AMD, is a condition of the retina that affects the eye’s central vision. It can cause blind spots and distorted vision.

Different types of Age-related Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is an ageing process occurring in the retina which evolves from an initial stage to early, intermediate and advanced forms of the condition

Age-Related Maculopathy (ARM) 
ARM corresponds to the earliest stage of the disease. It is caused by the progressive ageing of the retina. Deposits of fatty products, called drusen, accumulate in the outer layers of the retina causing them damage.

Advanced AMD – Dry or atrophic form 
The dry form of advanced AMD occurs in the final stages of retinal ageing. The drusen affect the macula to such a degree that they cause irreversible lesions which impair accurate sight (or central vision).

Advanced AMD – Wet or exudative form
In some cases, the atrophy is accompanied by abnormal growth of blood vessels located behind the macula, resulting in a distorted image.

The effect of drusen on vision can vary, from practically unchanged to a gradual loss of central vision acuity.

Blurred landscape depicting a blurred vision

Advanced forms can lead to scarring in the centre of the macula provoking an irreversible loss of central vision.

How many people does Age-related Macular Degeneration affect?

AMD is estimated to affect around 1.3% of the Spanish population aged 65 to 74 years old and 5.7% of patients over 75, which equates to 485,000 patients.

Substantiated information by:

Javier Zarranz Ventura
Mª Socorro Alforja  Castiella
Ricardo P Casaroli Marano

Published: 20 February 2018
Updated: 21 September 2022

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