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Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD; ARMD): At a Glance

By The Manual's Editorial Staff, ,

Age-related macular degeneration causes progressive damage to the macula, the central and most vital area of the retina, resulting in gradual loss of central vision.

There are two forms:

  • Wet AMD

  • Dry AMD

Viewing the Retina

For a full discussion, see Age-Related Macular Degeneration.

What Are Some Symptoms of AMD?

Dry AMD:

  • Slow and painless loss of vision

  • Loss of fine detail

  • Difficulty reading

  • As the disease progresses, formation of central blind spots (scotomas)


  • Quick loss of vision

  • Blurry, wavy, or distorted central vision

  • Difficulty reading and/or watching television

Did You Know...

  • AMD can severely damage vision and can lead to legal blindness.

  • Most people with the dry type retain the ability to read and drive.

How Is AMD Diagnosed?

  • An eye doctor’s examination (including ophthalmoscopy)

  • Sometimes other tests to confirm the diagnosis

For more information about tests, see Tests for Eye Disorders.

How Is AMD Treated?

No treatment can undo the damage caused by dry AMD.

However, taking dietary supplements, such as lutein plus zeaxanthin, zinc, copper, vitamins C and E, and beta-carotene, may help some people.

Drugs and laser procedures can help people who have wet AMD.

Low-vision aids (such as magnifiers and high-power reading glasses) can help people who have either type.

See also Protect Your Eyes.

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