Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the western world and affects the central vision. As age is typically a factor, it is often referred to as age related macular degeneration (ARMD). We now know that there is an inherited element to the disease with the identification and presence of certain faulty genes predisposing some patients to the condition. There are two types:

  • DRY: This is a gradual deterioration of the retinal cells and the condition can remain stable or proceed over the course of a few years. Approximately 10 to 15% of patients with dry macular degeneration will go on to develop the wet kind so it is important to seek advice quickly if you notice any sudden changes to your vision.
  • WET: This tends to be more rapid in onset but can be treated if caught quickly. Abnormal blood vessels grow into the macular. Leakage of these vessels cause swelling and damage and together with the resultant scarring which occurs to the retinal cells, the vision can be severely affected.

The main symptoms of ARMD are:

  • Gaps or dark spots (like a smudge on glasses) may appear in your vision, especially first thing in the morning. Objects in front of you might change shape, size or colour or seem to move or disappear
  • Colours can fade
  • You may find bright light glaring and uncomfortable or find it difficult to adapt when moving from dark to light environments
  • Words might disappear when you are reading
  • Straight lines such as door frames and lamp posts may appear distorted or bent

Currently there are no treatment for dry macular degeneration, although research is on going.

For wet macular degeneration, drugs are injected into the macular to prevent the growth of the abnormal blood vessels. Further treatment with a laser may be required in some cases.

For further advice call us on 0207 222 0066 or email us at

How to use an Amsler Chart

How to use an Amsler Chart

How might AMD affect my vision?