Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

AMD graphic showing the progression of the AMD

AGE RELATED Macular Degeneration (AMD)

AMD is a condition that can affect your eyes as you get older. In fact, AMD is the leading cause of sight loss in Ireland for the over 50s.

There are two types of AMD:

  • Dry AMD

Dry AMD is the most common form of the condition and develops slowly, eventually leading to loss of central vision.

  • Wet AMD

Wet AMD is caused by leaky blood vessels inside the eye. It is less common than dry AMD but it can cause more rapid loss of vision. It is responsible for 90% of cases of severe vision loss.

It is common for patients to develop the more severe form of wet AMD after first developing dry AMD. Also AMD can develop in one eye first with no noticeable effects, as the second, good eye, compensates. Often, it is only when the second eye develops symptoms that a problem becomes apparent. This could be too late to treat the first eye. That is why, if you are over 50, having regular eye tests is recommended.

What Causes AMD?

The exact causes of AMD are still unknown. Although there can be a history of the condition in certain families, AMD is still not believed to be genetic.

Studies have shown a definite link between smoking and AMD. Other factors such as high blood pressure and poor diet can also lead to a greater risk of getting AMD. Vitamins (C & E), lutein, Zeaxanthin, copper and zinc supplements in your diet, can help reduce the risk of developing AMD.

How AMD can affect your sight?

AMD is progressive and it is also painless. While AMD may affect your central vision, most people still retain useful side (or peripheral) vision.
Key symptoms of AMD include:

  • Distortion, where straight lines may appear wavy or bent. For example, lines of tiles in the bathroom appear wavy.
  • Difficulty in reading or doing any other activity which requires fine vision.
  • Difficulty in distinguishing faces.
  • Dark patches or empty spaces, which appear in the centre of your vision.
  • The need for increased illumination, sensitivity to glare, decreased night vision and poor colour sensitivity.

For more information on AMD, please consult your doctor and visit

A phone and headphones to symbolise the Vision Ireland podcast

Listen to this podcast on AMD with Dr David Keegan

Dr David Keegan discusses the causes, symptoms and treatments associated with the eye condition Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).

Vision Series, Guide for optometrists

All about AMD – with Vision Ireland’s CEO Chris White and Mr Mark Cahill

The Vision Series. Vision Ireland’s informational series developed in conjunction with Novartis to inform and promote Vision Ireland’s services to those living with sight loss in Ireland. We launch the second video in this series which features Vision Ireland’s CEO Chris White and Mr Mark Cahill MCh FRCSI FRC Ophth who chat all things AMD (Age-related macular degeneration); the most common cause of sight loss in Ireland.