What is macular degeneration (AMD)?

AMD is a common eye condition and one of the leading causes of vision loss among people age 50 and older. This condition affects the macula, the small portion of your retina responsible for clear central vision. The macula is made up of millions of sensory cells that provide the brain with information needed to form an image. Early, and especially late forms of macular degeneration can distort this image or cause a blind spot.



AMD can develop slowly, but in some people it may damage vision quickly. AMD by itself does not lead to complete blindness. However, the loss of central vision can interfere with simple everyday activities like seeing faces, driving, cooking and reading.

Who is at risk?

Age, especially after 60, is the greatest risk factor but it can occur earlier. The three main risk factors besides age are:

1. Smoking. Studies show smoking doubles your risk of AMD complication.

2. Race. AMD is more common among caucasians.

3. Family history. People with a family member diagnosed with AMD are at a higher risk.

AMD is detected through a general dilated eye exam! At Helena Vision Center we have state of the art equipment used to scan and measure the macula along with other tests used in diagnosing macular degeneration.

There are different stages of AMD that require different treatments and management so if you, a family member or a loved one have AMD or are concerned about developing this condition please schedule an exam. The best treatment for most eye disease is early detection!


Information provided by NEI health