What is age-related macular degeneration?

More than 1 in 7 Australians over 50 show signs of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).² AMD is a chronic eye disease, which if left unchecked may cause blindness. The good news is early detection can help save your sight.

The macula is the part of your eye used for sharp, central vision. You’re using your macula to read this website.

AMD causes the macula to deteriorate, and over time leads to blurred sight and even black spots in your central vision. This may make it difficult to drive, read and recognise people’s faces.


The stages of AMD are:

Early and intermediate AMD: caused by the continual build-up of waste product (called ‘drusen’) underneath the macula. Early or intermediate AMD can sometimes progress to late AMD.

Late AMD – may be atrophic (‘dry’) or neovascular (‘wet’): Dry AMD is caused by the gradual loss of cells in your macula, leading to a gradual loss of central vision; Wet AMD is caused by new, abnormal blood vessels growing under the macula which can leak blood and fluid. Wet AMD develops very quickly and can cause rapid vision loss.

Don’t assume vision changes are just a part of getting older. The earlier macular degeneration is diagnosed, the better the chance of preserving your vision.

Find out more

For more information and resources on AMD,
you can visit:

The Macular Disease Foundation Australia (MDFA) and Novartis Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd are working together on the common goal to raise awareness of age-related macular degeneration in the community and to provide support for the patients and their caregivers. See What’s Next is a disease information website developed by Novartis. By supporting this initiative, the MDFA is not endorsing any specific treatment or therapy.


AMD: age-related macular degeneration.

References: 1. Optometry Australia. 2019 Clinical Practice Guide for the diagnosis, treatment and management of Age-Related Macular Degeneration. 2. Macular Disease Foundation Australia. The Journey to See: A Model for Success.