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What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

As the name suggests, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a condition usually found in older people. It is the leading cause of visual impairment in New Zealand. The condition affects central vision making it increasingly difficult to recognise faces, and to read. Colours will start to look washed out. It is caused by damage to the macula, an area at the back of the eye. It can affect one or both eyes. There are two types of AMD, dry AMD which is by far the commoner variety and comes on slowly or wet AMD which is caused by the growth of new leaky blood vessels behind the macula.

There are various forms of treatment for wet AMD but no cure. However, damage is restricted to central vision and the side or peripheral sight is unaffected so AMD rarely leads to total loss of sight.