Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

Getting diagnosed

What happens at your opticians appointment

You'll be seen by a specialist called an optometrist.

They'll use a magnifying glass with a light to look at the back of your eyes and check your vision.

They may put drops in your eyes to make it easier for them to spot any problems. These can make your vision blurry for a few hours.

Don't drive until your vision goes back to normal. This may take 4 to 6 hours.

Referral to a specialist

Sometimes you may be referred to an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) or specialist AMD service. This is usually only necessary if there's a possibility you'll need to start treatment quickly. You should be referred within a day.

You may have more tests, such as a scan of the back of your eyes.

What happens if you're diagnosed with AMD

If you're diagnosed with AMD, the specialist will talk to you about what it is, what type you have and what the treatment options are.

Types of AMD
Dry AMD Wet AMD
Caused by a build-up of a fatty substance called drusen at the back of the eyes Caused by the growth of abnormal blood vessels at the back of the eyes
Common Less common
Gets worse gradually – usually over several years Can get worse quickly – sometimes in days or weeks
No treatment – unless it develops into wet AMD Treatment can help stop vision getting worse

It might be difficult to take in everything the specialist tells you.

If you're unsure about something later, write down any questions you have and make another appointment to go over them.

The Macular Society has information you might find useful. It also has a helpline on 0300 3030 111.

Page last reviewed: 27/03/2018
Next review due: 27/03/2021