Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease associated with age that gradually destroys sharp, central vision. It is the leading cause of significant visual acuity loss in people over age 50 in developed countries. The main risk factors are age, family history of the disease, cigarette smoking, and Caucasian race. The diagnosis is made by a clinical evaluation, but additional clinical tests, such as optical coherence tomography (OCT), fluorescein angiography (FA), and indocyanine green angiography, may be performed in clinic in order to evaluate and classify AMD. AMD causes no pain. Often, it advances so slowly that people do not notice that their vision is worsening. In others, disease progression can be rapid and may lead to loss of central vision if not treated quickly.
It can be divided into two forms: wet and dry. The wet type of AMD used to be treated with lasers but now is most commonly treated with injections of medication into the eye. It cannot be cured, but its progression may be blocked with these injections. These injectable medications have greatly increased the treatment of AMD and prolonged vision since 2005. The treatment of dry AMD consists of cessation of smoking and treatment with eye vitamins. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS2) found that treatment with nutritional supplements (AREDS2 formula) may help delay and prevent intermediate dry AMD from moving on to the advanced form.
Although patients with either form of AMD can experience a severe decrease in visual acuity, they will almost never be completely blind.