Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Emory Eye Center in Atlanta, Georgia, is one of the leading centers for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) research, committed to studying AMD and translating clinical findings into treatments for patients.  Emory Eye Center has a nationally recognized team of physicians and scientists who work closely on the study and treatment of AMD.

These physicians work hand-in-hand with research scientists with expertise in molecular genetics, immunology, drug delivery, cell biology, ocular pathology, pharmacology, and biochemistry.

Clinical research into macular degeneration has included antioxidants, new drug delivery systems, retinal cell transplantation, gene therapy, and retinal translocation surgery.

What is Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)?

Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in Americans over age 55 and affects about one-third of all Americans over age 65. Because older people make up the fastest growing segment of our population, macular degeneration is a significant public health issue. Located in the center of the retina, the macula is the size of this “o” and is the critical area we use for reading and central vision. The disease leads to loss of central vision and can make it impossible for affected individuals to drive, read and care for themselves.


Modifying one's lifestyle may reduce the odds for early AMD

  • Don't smoke.
  • Consume a low-fat diet.
  • Eat plenty of fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables, and nuts.
  • Include 2-3 servings fish per week in your diet.
  • Exercise regularly (walking, cycling, swimming, etc.)
  • Wear sunglasses and/or hat to protect against chronic sun exposure.


Patients with early forms of the disease may not experience any macular degeneration symptoms. They may have drusen, or yellowish deposits underneath the retina. Patients with later forms of the disease may experience a loss of central vision and may view straight objects, such as doorways or lines of print, as wavy or curved.

Forms of AMD

There are two forms of late AMD: the nonexudative, or dry form, accounting for 80-90% of affected patients and exudative, or wet form, which affects about 10% of patients.


One-fourth of all Americans over age 75 have the wet form of AMD, which can significantly damage vision. Wet AMD can cause the pigment epithelium underneath the retina to detach, distorting vision.

In addition, abnormal capillaries originating from the layer behind the retina called the choroid may form and leak fluid and blood underneath the retina. The choroid's blood vessels, combined with tissue, can form a scar-like membrane under the retina and block central vision. This membrane is called a choroidal neovascularization membrane (CNVM). A majority of patients with severe vision loss from AMD have CNVM.

Links to Outside Resources

Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB)

• National Eye Institute (NEI)

National Institute on Aging

Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB)


AMD Research and Treatments

New technology helps some end-stage patients

Emory Eye Center is the first in Georgia to offer a new technology (IMT) proven to help the vision of some patients with end-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD). 

spinach Beneficial effects of antioxidants in delaying progression of AMD

AMD is a disease associated with aging that gradually destroys sharp central vision.

If you or someone you know has Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), you should be aware of an important study called the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS). The study reports the beneficial effect of antioxidants (Vitamin C, E, beta-carotene and zinc-copper supplements) in delaying progression of AMD.

For recommendations from this study, download: "Vitamins and Age-Related Macular Degeneration."

Vision-assisting devices and therapies

The Center actively participates in research and testing of vision-assisting devices and therapies for individuals with limited vision due to macular degeneration, glaucoma or other blinding diseases. Our Low Vision clinic helps people of any age with reduced vision that neither surgery, medical treatment nor the best standard optical remedies can correct.

Our Emory campus location:

Copyright © Emory Eye Center - All Rights Reserved | Emory Clinic Building B, 1365B Clifton Road, NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30322 USA