Age-Related Macular Degeneration

By: CPMC Genetic Counseling Staff
Reviewed by: Ravi D. Goel, MD, Regional Eye Associates and Wills Eye Institute

Age-related macular degeneration is an eye disease usually affecting people over the age of 50 where the part of the eye used for sharp, central vision – called the macula – gradually deteriorates. Central vision is needed for driving, reading, recognizing faces and working with fine detail. Shown here, below, is an example of vision as someone with macular degeneration sees it.

There are two forms of age-related macular degeneration, wet and dry:

  • The dry form is more common, making up about 85-90% of cases of macular degeneration. The wet form makes up the remaining 10-15% of cases. 
  • Wet macular degeneration involves leakage of fluid under the macula due to abnormal blood vessel growth in the eye. Wet macular degeneration is associated with faster and more severe vision loss than dry macular degeneration. 
  • Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss among people 50 years old or older in the developed world2.
  • More than 12% of Caucasian men and 15% of Caucasian women over the age of 80 are affected with this condition3.
Click here to view the data. 

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Learn more about age-related macular degeneration, from symptoms to understanding your risk via the links below.

Page References

2. Jager (2008) Age Related Macular Degeneration.

3. Eye disease prevalence research group. Archives of Ophthalmology2004. 122: 564-72.

Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

Learn more about Age-Related Macular Degeneration [ Learn More › ]

Risk Factors

Both genetic and non-genetic factors play a role in Age-Related Macular Degeneration [ Learn More › ]

Reduce Your Risk

Risk-reducing behaviors for Age-Related Macular Degeneration [ Learn More › ]

The CPMC Study

Learn how the CPMC Study identifies your risk for Age-Related Macular Degeneration [ Learn More › ]

Educational Sessions

An educational video series on Age-Related Macular Degeneration [ Learn More › ]