Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)


Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (or macular degeneration) is a deterioration of the central portion of the retina known as the macula. This condition is commonly known to impact adults older than 50 years old, as it is a disease caused by aging. There are two specific types of macular degeneration known as dry and wet.


  • Blurry or distorted central vision or peri-central vision (just next to the center)
  • Small areas of dark spot in your central vision (does not move upon eye movement)
  • Color changes or contrast changes

How do you know if you have Macular Degeneration?

Macular Degeneration in its earliest stages has minimal symptoms or signs that patients will likely not be aware of. A comprehensive eye examination allows your eye doctor to screen for this eye condition. If diagnosed, it is important to consult with your eye doctor to determine the appropriate follow-up to monitor for changes in your eye health. Regular follow-up visits are recommended, as vision loss or vision changes may not be apparent at the onset of the condition.

What tools or procedures does your optometrist use to monitor for changes in Macular Degeneration?

Your eye doctor may perform one or any of the following procedures during your visit:

  • Dilated eye examination to check for changes in the macula
  • Check visual acuity (letters on the chart)
  • AMSLER grid test (click to retrieve grid)
  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT) - instrumentation allowing a high-resolution image of the individual retinal layers of the back of the eye that are not discernable by the naked eye

Treatment options for macular degeneration

There is no cure for AMD; however, there are methods to slow the progression of the condition that have only been recently available in the last ten years.


The dry form of Macular Degeneration means that the retina has changes in certain layers that may or may not directly vision. While no treatment exists, your eye doctor may recommend vitamins, supplements, or dietary changes to improve your overall eye and vision health. Some of the following vitamins/supplements are as follows:

  • Lutein/Zeaxanthin
    • Foods rich in both Lutein/Zeaxanthin: dark leafy greens (spinach, collards, kale, etc.), green peas, summer, squash, brussel sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, romaine lettuce, carrots, pistachios
  • Zinc
    • Foods rich in Zinc: meat (red meat), shellfish, legumes (chickpeas, lentils, beans), seeds, nuts (pine nuts, peanuts, cashews, almonds), dairy, eggs, whole grains, dark chocolate
  • Copper
    • Foods rich in Copper: liver, oysters, shiitake mushrooms, nuts, lobster, leafy greens, dark chocolate
  • Vitamin E
    • Foods rich in Vitamin E: sunflower, almonds, peanuts/peanut butter, spinach, pumpkin, red bell pepper, asparagus, mango, avocado
  • Vitamin C
    • Foods rich in Vitamin C: chili peppers, guavas, yellow peppers, cantaloupe, parsley, mustard spinach, kale, kiwis, broccoli, brussel sprouts, lemons, papayas, strawberries, oranges

Disclaimer: Prior to starting any vitamin or supplement regimen, it is recommended to speak with your primary care provider or doctor. Your primary care provider (physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or advanced practice provider) will recommend the most appropriate dose of the vitamins of interest.


The wet form of Macular Degeneration is the presence of fluid or active bleeding in specific layers of the retina. This can be seen clinically or ruled out/confirmed using optical coherence tomography scans in most cases. If the resolution does not confirm this information, your eye doctor will recommend consulting a vitreo-retinal surgeon who often recommends a procedure known as fluorescein angiography (imaging method that allows your eye doctor to determine the presence of abnormal blood vessels in the eye by using a dye). If diagnosed with the wet form, your vitreo-retinal surgeon will consider treatment options such as:

  • Intra-vitreal injections
  • Photodynamic therapy

Please consult your vitreo-retinal surgeon to determine the best option for your eye and vision health.

Commonly Asked Question

What tools can a patient use at home to self-monitor in between visits?

On occasion, your eye doctor may recommend using an AMSLER grid to monitor for symptoms or changes in your vision in between appointments. Talk with your eye doctor to determine how often.