About macular degeneration (AMD)

Macular degeneration (MD) or age related macular degeneration (ARMD or AMD) is the leading cause of permanent sight loss in the over sixty's.

As the population of older people grows, so will the number of new cases of AMD. There are two types of AMD, wet and dry. Dry AMD is more common and is the one that the vitamins on this site are intended for.

What exactly is it?

The macula is a small, central point at the back of the eye responsible for vision when we are reading or driving. Yellow waste cell deposits called drusen form and gradually affect our ability to see central objects in front of us, such as faces, words on a page or the TV. Also straight lines may appear wavy.

At first things appear blurry or hard to recognise, then over the years a blank or 'blind' spot can develop in both eyes (it is a painless process). The vision around the edge of our sight is not affected so it does not cause complete blindness. This remaining outer vision allows us to continue our day to day activities.

What else can I do?

If you smoke, please stop or at least cut down. AMD has been shown to be more common in smokers. The NHS smokefree website can help. Smokers who receive weekly support from their pharmacy or surgery Stop Smoking Service are twice as likely to stay stopped.

Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, particularly raw or cooked spinach and kale. If your GP or ophthalmologist recommends a vitamin supplement to slow down the progression of your AMD, ensure it contains the AREDS formula.

You may be able to have them on prescription but this depends on where you live. It is important for you to contact us to check if they will go with your other medicines or medical conditions or if you have ever smoked.

The use of magnifiers, reading lights, large print books and talking technology such as RNIB Penfriend can help with reading and identifying food or medicines. You can watch a video of Penfriend in action.

Join The Macular Society for newsletters, telephone helpline, research updates and local group activities. Reading about how other people manage their condition can be really useful in overcoming problems and staying positive.

When the time comes, register as partially sighted or blind through your ophthalmologist or hospital low vision clinic to receive financial assistance. If you drive, be sure to let DVLA know too.