Age-Related Macular Degeneration / Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do people get AMD? Are there risk factors that cause it?
While a lack of nutrients reaching the macula can contribute to AMD, the exact cause is unknown. The primary risk factor is age, but other risk factors such as genetics, poor diet, smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure (hypertension), light skin or eye color, and exposure to UV light make some people more likely to develop AMD.
Q: How could AMD affect my daily life?
AMD can affect your ability to see at a distance and complete detailed work. Faces may become blurry, and colors may become less distinguishable. Distortion may cause edges or lines to appear wavy. The end result can be a loss of central vision, which patients often perceive as a dark or empty area in their straight-ahead vision. This can affect your ability to perform everyday activities like driving, reading, watching TV, or even playing cards.
Q: Is AMD hereditary?
Studies indicate that first-generation family members are three times more likely to develop AMD. Early diagnosis is the key. So, if you are over 40, and are the child or the sibling of someone living with AMD, it’s crucial that you get regularly scheduled eye examinations. You may also want to consider taking an eye vitamin. They provide essential nutrients for promoting healthy vision now and in the future.
Q: I already take a multivitamin. Should I also take eye vitamins?
Yes. Eye vitamins deliver nutrients your eyes need to stay healthy — in levels not available in regular multivitamins. However, you can continue to take your regular daily multivitamin. Consult your physician or eye care professional if you have any questions.
Q: Is it true that I can't take beta-carotene if I smoke?
There are possible risks associated with smoking and using high dosages of
beta-carotene. If you smoke, consider taking an eye vitamin that substitutes
beta-carotene with lutein. See your eye care professional for more information.
Q: Are there different types of AMD? How quickly can AMD progress?
AMD is classified as either wet (choroidal neovascular) AMD or dry (non-neovascular) AMD. Most people with AMD have dry AMD, which progresses very slowly. Wet AMD, however, can progress rapidly. For more information on the different types of AMD, refer to the What is AMD? section of this website.
Q: Can dry AMD become wet AMD?
Yes. As dry AMD progresses, it can become wet AMD.
Q: If I develop AMD in one eye can it develop in the other eye?
It is possible. If you have AMD, this is another reason why it’s so important to take eye vitamins as directed by your eye care professional.
Q: Does AMD cause blindness?
No matter how severe a particular case of AMD is, those living with AMD will generally maintain their peripheral, or side, vision — even into the latest stages of the disease. You will not become completely blind solely from AMD.
Q: Are there any AMD support groups in my area?
You can find a local group in your area by contacting one of the AMD organizations listed on the links page of this website. Your eye care professional may also be able to suggest local support groups.
The content of this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye care professional or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your eye health.