What Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)?

Three quarter view of cross-sectioned eye with callout showing fovea and macula.Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease. AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in adults over age 50. It almost always affects both eyes. The macula (the part of the eye that controls your central, detailed vision) becomes damaged. Central vision becomes limited. However, side vision remains clear. There are two types of macular degeneration: dry and wet.

Closeup of retina with age-related macular degeneration showing drusen.

Closeup of retina with wet macular degeneration showing blood vessels and fluid.

Dry macular degeneration

Dry is the most common type of macular degeneration. In the early stages, changes in vision may be hard to notice. Over time, your central vision may slowly worsen. You may notice wavy lines and blank spots in the center of your vision. Colors may look dim. There is no way to restore vision lost from dry macular degeneration. But you need to monitor it because it can turn into wet macular degeneration.

Wet macular degeneration

Wet macular degeneration is less common, but more serious. Vision loss may be faster and more noticeable. You may suddenly see dark spots, blank spots, wavy lines, and dim colors in the center of your vision. If wet macular degeneration is caught early, certain treatments, such as injections, photodynamic therapy, or laser surgery, may help to slow further vision loss or even improve vision.