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Macular degeneration (AMD)

(Age-related) macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease that occurs with increasing age and can impair central vision. It leads to a loss of vision in the area of the eye that is responsible for sharp, central vision. AMD is a progressive disease that primarily begins in old age (usually after the age of 55) and impairs vision, sometimes to the point of blindness.

Around 65 million people in Europe are currently affected by AMD, including around 5 million in Switzerland, Germany and Austria. That's more than cataracts and glaucoma combined.

AMD is a progressive eye disease that leads to a deterioration in vision over time.

Estimated new AMD cases with data from J. Q. Li, T. Welchowski, M. Schmid, M. M. Mauschitz, F. G. Holz, and R. P. Finger, "Prevalence and incidence of age-related macular degeneration in Europe: a systematic review and meta-analysis," British Journal of Ophthalmology, vol. 104, no. 8, pp. 1077-1084, 2020

There are two main forms of AMD:


In dry AMD, deposits known as drusen form under the retina. These drusen are accumulations of metabolic products that build up over time. Whilst these drusen do not initially cause any symptoms, over time they can damage the surrounding tissue and lead to a gradual loss of vision.

Treatment: There is currently no cure for dry AMD. Treatment therefore focuses on slowing the progression of the disease and alleviating the symptoms. Some studies suggest that taking supplements containing antioxidants and certain vitamins (such as vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and copper) can slow the progression of AMD. Regular eye examinations are important to recognise changes at an early stage.

Trockene Makuladegeneration. Ein Farbfundusfoto von einem Patienten mit trockener AMD. Sie weisen zahlreiche kleine und mittelgroße Drusen in der Makularegion auf (oval).
Dry macular degeneration. A colour fundus photo of a patient with dry AMD. They have numerous small and medium-sized drusen in the macular region (oval) (Provided by: Webvision. Licence: CC-BY 2.0)


Wet AMD is caused by the formation of abnormal blood vessels behind the retina. These new blood vessels are unstable and leaky, which leads to haemorrhages and scarring and impairs central vision.

The treatment of wet AMD aims to stop the growth of the abnormal blood vessels and reduce the accumulation of fluid. This is usually achieved by injecting drugs into the vitreous of the eye that inhibit the growth of the blood vessels. These drugs are known as anti-VEGF drugs and can help to slow the progression of AMD and stabilise vision. In some cases, laser treatment can also be used to close or destroy abnormal blood vessels.

People with AMD have severely restricted central vision.
The grey word section represents the suppressed visual field. Bus stop is then read instead of bus stop.

Visual aids

In addition to medical treatments, visual aids can also help to improve or maintain vision with AMD. These include

  • Magnifying visual aids: Magnifying glasses, screen readers and magnifying lenses can help to magnify small details and make reading easier.
  • Contrast-enhancing visual aids: These visual aids increase the contrast between objects and the background, which can make it easier to recognise details.

VoiSee© combines both principles: Images are customisably enlarged and contrast-enhanced.</strong

VoiSee© combines both principles: Images are customisably enlarged and contrast-enhanced.</strong

© Reber Engineering und Informatik, 2024


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