Macular degeneration: Do those affected become blind?

As a sufferer of AMD, you will face the fact that you live with deteriorating eyesight over time. Regular visits to the ophthalmologist and the ongoing therapy will accompany you. Everyday life will become more difficult as the eyesight deteriorates.


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How will eyesight develop in people with AMD?

In general, as a person affected, you can assume that, thanks to early treatment and monitoring of AMD the progression of the disease can be contained and the risk of going blind is avoided.

The earlier the disease is recognized and, if necessary, treated, the higher the chances of preserving eyesight and maintaining the quality of life of the person affected. Another important point is whether AMD is the dry or the wet form of the disease.

Course of the disease in dry AMD
In the case of the dry form of AMD, therapy is, as of today, not possible. The course is usually slower. If risk factors are avoided and a balanced and healthy diet is also observed, the course of the disease can also be positively influenced.

Prognosis of the disease in dry AMD
The dry form of AMD can lead to severe impairment of central vision in the end-stage. The reason for this is what is known as atrophy: it causes those affected to lose their ability to read and they, for example, can no longer recognize faces.

Course of the disease in wet AMD
With early treatment, wet AMD can have a significantly better prognosis. If there are more advanced changes, patients usually have to receive significantly more injections to get the macula dry again. Changes are, for example, significant vascular growth or pronounced macular edema in the retina.

Prognosis of the disease in wet AMD
The further vision prognosis is worse with wet AMD, since irreversible changes due to the scarring or atrophy of the sensory cells are often already present. This is usually shown by the poor visual acuity of the eye prior to treatment.

In the case of major macular edema and scarred changes, visual acuity is often significantly impaired. By injecting the drug, these changes in the macula can be reversed to a certain extent only. In this case, the visual acuity can only partially recover. If the disease is treated in the early stages, the prognosis for further vision is quite good. The patients usually need significantly fewer injections and the functional loss of the eye is also not as bad. This means that the visual acuity remains good after the treatment.

AMD is a disease that cannot be cured. Medication can often stop the progression of AMD and improve lost vision. Fortunately, complete blindness is impossible.

Dwindling eyesight – help for those affected

If reading power decreases over time, those affected can rely on magnifying visual aids, such as electronic reading magnifiers or illuminated magnifiers. These also provide support in everyday life in order to cope better with the visual impairment.

Complete blindness is impossible

Even in the advanced stages of the disease – both in the wet and dry form of AMD – those affected will never go completely blind. The peripheral vision, which is responsible for the perception of the environment, is retained. However, the loss of central visual acuity, which is so important for reading and recognizing faces, is to be expected. This can lead to the fact that one will be dependent on help at a very advanced stage.