Research into macular degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration is the most common cause of severe sight loss in older adults. There are over 600,000 people in the UK with sight loss caused by the two types of macular degeneration and this number will more than double by 2050.

There are currently no treatments for dry macular degeneration, and while there are some treatments by injection for wet macular degeneration this condition continues to have a huge impact on people’s sight. That’s why we currently investing in 22 projects researching macular degeneration to help find new and more effective treatments for this condition.  Our goal is for a new treatment for macular degeneration within the next ten years.

For example, Professor Heping Xu at Queens University Belfast is using a range of techniques to understand the underlying molecular reasons for scarring of the retina during macular degeneration, with a view to developing new treatments.

We have also partnered with the Macular Society, Blind Veterans and Scottish War Blinded to form Action Against Age-Related Macular Degeneration and together we are funding further research in this area.

Read more about our macular degeneration research

Belinda was diagnosed with macular degeneration in 2010. As a result her central vision has been affected and she has had to make adjustments in her life, giving up passions like photography. Belinda said:

“I believe the only way forward is through eye research. There is some fantastic research happening and with more research many more conditions will become curable - sight loss may become a thing of the past.”

Read Belinda's story

Age-related macular degeneration

What is it?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects the macula – a small part of the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye (the retina). We use the macula for the central, detailed vision needed for reading and driving.

AMD can be diagnosed as either ‘dry’ or ‘wet’. Dry AMD is more common and generally results in a slower loss of vision.

Wet AMD progresses more quickly. About 1 in 10 people with AMD have the wet form. It happens when unhealthy new blood vessels grow under the macula. They leak blood and fluid, which damages the tissue.

Find out more about macular degeneration

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