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Age-related macular degeneration: the care you should expect

Age-related macular degeneration is a painless eye condition that causes people to lose vision in the centre of their eye (affecting what you see looking straight ahead). It’s most common in people over 65 and usually happens in both eyes. Despite being a leading cause of vision loss, macular degeneration is a little known condition and diagnosis can often be a shock. Over time loss of central vision can make everyday life difficult, but early treatment can slow or prevent more loss and help people get the best from their vision.

We want this guideline to make a difference to people with macular degeneration by making sure:  

  • it is confirmed quickly and accurately so that people with types of macular degeneration that worsen quickly can be referred immediately
  • all professionals talking to people about macular degeneration describe its different types and stages in the same way
  • people who are offered eye injections are given information about what they involve, who will give them and how many they will need
  • people understand the changes they can make to their diet and lifestyle to help slow the condition, and how to monitor their vision.

Making decisions together

Decisions about treatment and care are best when they are made together. Your health professionals should give you clear information, talk with you about your options and listen carefully to your views and concerns.

To help you make decisions, think about:

  • How will macular degeneration and its treatment affect your day to day life?
  • What are you most worried about – are there risks or downsides to different treatments that worry you more than others?
  • What happens if you don’t want to have treatment?
  • What changes you could make to your lifestyle to help slow your vision loss.

If you can’t understand the information you are given, tell your health professional.

Read more about making decisions about your care.

In the news

Read NICE news about how this guideline will help.

Opportunity to improve care for people with suspected late stage macular degeneration, says NICE

People with suspected late AMD (wet active) should be referred to a macula service within one working day, says NICE.

Where can I find out more?

NHS Choices has more information about macular degeneration.

The organisations below can give you more advice and support.

NICE is not responsible for the content of these websites.

We wrote this guideline with people who have been affected by age-related macular degeneration and staff who treat and support them. All the decisions are based on the best research available.

ISBN: 978-1-4731-2788-3

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