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HealthInfo Canterbury

Macular degeneration

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Macular degeneration is the main cause of blindness and severe vision loss in New Zealand. One in seven New Zealanders over the age of 50 show some signs of it. Around 17% of these people have some loss of vision.

Macular degeneration affects the retina in your eye. It causes a painless, progressive loss of central vision (what you see looking straight ahead), but your peripheral or side vision (what you see around the edges) is not affected. It usually affects people aged over 50.

It is often called age-related macular degeneration (AMD, or ARMD). However, there are also inherited forms that affect young people. It can lead to legal blindness, but it does not result in total blindness.

Written by Canterbury optometrists.Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. November 2014.

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Page reference: 121270

Review key: HIMAD-121270