We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
JAMA Patient Page |

Age-Related Macular Degeneration FREE

Denise M. Goodman, MD, MS; Sharon Parmet, MS; Cassio Lynm, MA; Edward H. Livingston, MD
JAMA. 2012;308(16):1702. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.4091.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease causing poor vision in more than 10 million older Americans. The retina is the inner layer of the eye that captures light and turns it intoelectrical signals. When these electrical signals arereceived by the brain through the optic nerve, they are translated into images. The most sensitive part of the retina is the macula, the area responsible for sharp, detailed central vision that allows you to read, recognize faces, and drive. With AMD, this sharp central vision is lost, but peripheral (side) vision is preserved. This Patient Page is based on one previously published in the May 24/31, 2006, issue of JAMA.

Place holder to copy figure label and caption

Graphic Jump LocationImage not available.

Risk factors for AMD include older age, white race, a family history of AMDand smoking. There are 2 types of AMD, dry and wet. Dry AMD is more common, causing about 90% of AMD. The macula slowly breaks down because of the accumulation of small yellow deposits called drusen. It can develop so gradually that you might not notice changes in vision at first. Wet AMD is less common (about 10% of cases) but is more severe and may progress more rapidly. Wet AMD is caused by a leakage of blood and fluid behind the retina due to abnormal blood vessels. Dry AMD can turn into wet AMD.


One symptom of early wet AMD is that straight lines appear wavy. Blind spots or blurriness may develop near your central field of vision. Other symptoms include difficulty adjusting to low light and a decrease in the intensity of colors.


It is important to have regular eye examinations after age 50 years, even if you don'thave any symptoms. If you have AMD in one eye, your other eye may be compensating so that you don't notice any change in vision. Your doctor can give you an Amsler grid test (looks like graph paper with thick lines). If the lines start to look wavy, this may be a sign of wet AMD and you should see your eye doctor immediately.

Place holder to copy figure label and caption

Graphic Jump LocationImage not available.


Develop healthy habits, like quitting smoking (if you now smoke), exercising, maintaining normal blood pressure and cholesterol, and eating a healthy diet. People who eat fish and green leafy vegetables may be at lower risk of AMD. There is no treatment for early dry AMD, although a special combination of supplements (zinc and antioxidant vitamins) may slow progression in some people with more advanced disease. Recent advances in the treatment of wet AMD involve injection of medicines into the eye that can cause regression (shrinkage) of the abnormal blood vessels, improving vision. These treatments are usually effective and are now widely used. They have largely replaced the older treatment of laser therapy to the macula, which can also destroy abnormal blood vessels.



To find this and previous JAMA Patient Pages, go to the Patient Page link on JAMA 's website at www.jama.com. Many are available in English and Spanish.

This article was corrected for errors on November 26, 2012.


Place holder to copy figure label and caption

Graphic Jump LocationImage not available.

Place holder to copy figure label and caption

Graphic Jump LocationImage not available.



Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.


Spanish Patient Page: Degeneración macular relacionada con la edad

Supplemental Content

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

0 Citations

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

See Also...