Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

Treatments

Treatment depends on the type of AMD you have.

  • Dry AMD – there's no treatment, but vision aids can help reduce the effect on your life. Read about living with AMD.
  • Wet AMD – you may need regular eye injections and, very occasionally, a light treatment called "photodynamic therapy" to stop your vision getting worse.
What the different types mean
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

Eye injections

Anti-VEGF medicines – ranibizumab (Lucentis) and aflibercept (Eylea)

Injections given directly into the eyes.

  • stops vision getting worse in 9 out of 10 people and improves vision in 3 out of 10 people
  • usually given every 1 or 2 months for as long as necessary
  • drops numb the eyes before treatment – most people have minimal discomfort
  • side effects include bleeding in the eye, feeling like there's something in the eye, and eyes being red and irritated

The Macular Society has more on injections for wet AMD.

Light treatment

Photodynamic therapy (PDT)

A light is shined at the back of the eyes to destroy the abnormal blood vessels that cause wet AMD.

  • may be recommended alongside eye injections if injections alone don't help
  • usually needs to be repeated every few months
  • side effects include temporary vision problems, and the eyes and skin being sensitive to light for a few days or weeks

Read more about photodynamic therapy.

Research into new treatments

Research into new treatments for AMD is ongoing. Your specialist can let you know if there are any studies you could take part in.

You can also search the UK Clinical Trials Gateway (UKCTG) to find studies.

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