Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Info Sheet

BASIC FACT SHEET (Does not replace a medical consultation)

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss for older adults. AMD causes vision loss to the central part of your vision, which makes it difficult to look directly at something,  thus affecting common activities like driving, reading, seeing faces, cooking, and all of your everyday activities. Here is  brief summary of the disease:

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What is it?  Symptoms   Treatment  References  Organizations

What is AMD?

Dry Form of AMD

Dry AMD (also called atrophic AMD) is the most common form of AMD. This is when the macula gets thinner with age. Dry AMD happens in 3 stages: early, intermediate, and late. It usually progresses slowly over several years.   Any stage of dry AMD can turn into wet AMD .

Wet Form of AMD


The symptoms of AMD depend on the stage. Dry AMD happens in 3 stages: early, intermediate, and late.  

  • Early dry: doesn’t cause any symptoms.
  • Intermediate dry: some people still have no symptoms. Others may notice mild symptoms, like mild blurriness in their central vision or trouble seeing in low lighting.
  • Late (wet or dry type): many people notice that straight lines start to look wavy or crooked. You may also notice a blurry area near the center of your vision. Over time, this blurry area may get bigger or you may see blank spots. Colors may also seem less bright than before, and you may have more trouble seeing in low lighting.

Straight lines looking wavy is a warning sign for late AMD. If you notice this symptom, see your eye doctor right away.  If you look at the grid below and focus on the black dot, if you see anything but a grid,  including spots,  wavy, lines, etc., you should see an ophthalmologist.

Eye test for macular degeneration.AMSLER eye test for central vision



  1. National Eye Institute at the National Institute of Health.
  2. Foundation Fighting Blindness

Disease-Specific Organizations

American Macular Degeneration Foundation

P.O. Box 515
Northampton, MA 01061-0515

American Academy of Ophthalmology

P.O. Box 7424
Sam Francisco, CA 74120-7424 
(415) 561-8500

Macular Vision Research Foundation

300 Barr Harbor Drive, Suite 600
West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2984

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