What Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration, also known as AMD, is the leading cause of blindness among Americans over the age of 50, affecting nearly 15 million men and women in the United States.

Age-related macular degeneration is a progressive loss of central vision

Though it only accounts for three percent of your entire visual field, central vision is required to see anything that is straight in front of you.

“AMD often begins as a blurred area near the center of the vision and grows larger over time, explains Dr. Shelley Day. “Central vision is essential for any activity requiring fine, clear vision, like reading, cooking, writing or fixing things around the house.”

Central vision also helps with estimating distances and recognizing faces. Over time, blurred vision due to age-related macular degeneration can lead to distortion or even blank spots (loss of vision).

The area affected by age-related macular degeneration is the macula. The macula sits at the back of your eye and is made up of millions of light-sensing cells. When it gets injured or begins to deteriorate, you are at risk of losing your central vision.

Two forms of age-related macular degeneration

AMD is divided into two general categories, dry AMD (DAMD) and wet AMD (WAMD):


Approximately 90 percent of people diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration have DAMD. This is an early stage of the disease and occurs when small white or yellow deposits, called drusen, begin to form on the retina just beneath the macula. This may be asymptomatic or may cause slow gradual vision loss over time.


If the disease progresses into wet macular degeneration, abnormal blood vessels begin growing under or near retina (toward the macula), which may leak blood and fluid. WAMD typically causes a sudden and more severe loss of vision and can be treated with intraocular injections of medication

While there is no known cure, there are techniques and tools available to help you learn how to live a full life with AMD, including:

  • Intravitreal injections
  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT)
  • A combination of these treatments

If you’re in need of age-related macular degeneration treatment in Austin or treatment for other eye conditions, call the skilled ophthalmologists and eye surgeons at Austin Retina Associates at 800-252-8259. We’ll help safeguard your central ‘fine’ vision from age-related vision loss.