Adult Macular Degeneration



The cause of AMD is not known.

Risk Factors

This problem is more common in adults 50 years of age and older. It is also more common in people with dark-colored eyes.

Other things that may raise the risk are:

  • Past cataract surgery
  • Farsightedness
  • Smoking
  • Excessive exposure to sunlight
  • A diet that is low in certain vitamins and minerals
  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Having other family members with AMD



AMD may slowly get worse over time and have little effect on a person's vision. Others may have a lot of vision loss in a short amount of time. It does not cause pain.

A person with AMD may:

  • Have blurred eyesight that may get better in brighter light
  • Have problems seeing details in front of the eyes, such as faces or words in a book
  • Have a small but growing blind spot in the middle of a person's field of vision
  • See straight lines (such as door frames) as being crooked or distorted


The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. This may be enough to suspect AMD.

A doctor who treats eyes will do an eye exam and view the retina. This can confirm the diagnosis.

Some people may need images taken of the eyes. This can be done with:

  • Angiography—uses a dye to make blood vessels easier to see
  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT)—uses a dim red light to take a picture of the retina



The goal of treatment is to try to slow the disease’s progress. This will help people have their vision longer. How that is done depends on the type of AMD and how bad it is.


Dry AMD cannot be treated. Things that may slow the disease are:

  • Vitamin and mineral supplements
  • Not smoking


The goal of treating wet AMD is to reduce or destroy new blood vessels. This can be done with:

  • Laser photocoagulation—destroys new blood vessels with a strong laser light beam
  • Photodynamic therapy—uses a light-sensitive dye and laser light to destroy problem blood vessels
  • Vascular endothelial growth factor inhibitor—a medicine injected in the fluid in the eye to reduce the number of new blood vessels


To lower the risk of this problem:

  • Eat a healthy diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, and nuts.
  • Make sure to get enough vitamins and minerals.
  • Use a hat and sunglasses when outside.
  • Do not smoke.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.