Age Related Macular Degeneration

What is age-related macular degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of severe vision impairment in people aged over 40 years in Australia. It is also referred to as AMD or ARMD.

These images give an impression of what someone with AMD may see compared to someone with normal vision.

Macular degeneration simulation
Normal vision simulation

Which part of the eye is affected?

AMD affects the macular region of the retina which is used for straight ahead sight. Activities which rely on the macula functioning well are reading, writing, looking at detailed objects, and colour vision.

What are the types of AMD?

AMD is described as either dry or wet. Dry AMD is the most common and results in a gradual loss of central vision. Wet AMD is rarer and leads to sudden and significant changes in vision.

What are the common symptoms?

  • A gradual decline in the ability to see objects clearly
  • Distorted vision
  • Dark or empty spaces blocking the central field of vision
  • Dimming of colour vision
  • Visual hallucinations (see Charles Bonnet Syndrome)
AMD simulation of bus

This image shows what a bus may look like to someone with AMD.

Who is at risk?

Those most at risk of developing AMD are people with a family history of AMD, people over the age of 75 and smokers.

Can AMD be treated?

There is currently no treatment for dry AMD but treatments are available for wet AMD that are aimed at maintaining the vision for as long as possible.

Some eye doctors recommend vitamin supplements to reduce the progression of dry AMD - particularly zinc, Vitamins C, E and beta carotene.

The main treatment for wet AMD is Lucentis injections. The injections aim to reduce the progression of the disease and prevent further loss of vision. In some cases, vision may improve. The desired outcome is to prevent the growth of new abnormal blood vessels in the retina.

Meet some of our clients with AMD

Ruby's a gem!

Ruby using CCTV

Ruby Wood has lived in the same Melbourne house for almost 60 years. When she was declared legally blind in 2005 due to age-related macular degeneration, the 86-year-old feared she would have to move...

Read Ruby's story here.

Geoff solves a puzzle

Geoff portrait

First Geoff noticed the squares of his favourite crossword puzzle appearing to float across the page. Then one morning he drove confidently to a wedding, only to find he couldn't see clearly enough to drive back home safely that afternoon...

Read Geoff's story here.

Gallipoli calling

Eric portrait

Eric Sumner can't understand all the fuss that's being made about his trip to Gallipoli for Anzac Day 2007...

Read Eric's story here.

Expanding my world

Ruth portrait

Ruth Mercer never expected technology to be a big part of her life, but since developing Macular Degeneration 20 years ago, technology has enabled her to maintain her interests and develop new ones...

Read Ruth's story here.

Mary moves with the times

Mary portrait

Christmas 2004 was something of a turning point for Mary Beekman. This was when the 78-year-old from Strathfield, in Sydney, first realised that macular degeneration had caused her sight to deteriorate to an extent that she could no longer drive...

Read Mary's story here.

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