Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common eye disease among people 60 and older. It is a leading cause of visual impairment and irreversible vision loss in the United States. For Caucasians older than 40, it is the leading cause of legal blindness. 

As many as 11 million Americans have some type of AMD, including both the early and later stages of the wet and dry types. This number is expected to double to nearly 22 million by 2050.

AMD causes deterioration of the macula, the central area of the retina. The retina is a paper-thin tissue at the back of the eye where light-sensitive cells send visual signals to the brain. The macula processes sharp, clear, straight-ahead vision. Damage to the macula results in blind spots and blurred or distorted vision. People affected by AMD find many daily activities, such as driving and reading, increasingly difficult. 

In this section, you can find out more about the disease and what you can do to manage care for yourself or a loved one.

  • In Healthy Living, learn how a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and a nutritious diet, contributes to your overall well-being.
  • Understanding Macular Degeneration explains more about the disease, including prevention and risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.
  • Managing Macular Degeneration provides tips for managing your disease, such as finding a doctor, government benefits, and insurance and long-term care.
  • As you and your family cope with AMD, get help with our information about safety in the home, family and relationships, quality of life, and more in Living with Macular Degeneration.
  • If you have a loved one with AMD, Caring for Someone Else provides practical information and social and emotional support.

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