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Disease Profile

Macular degeneration

Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.


US Estimated

Europe Estimated

Age of onset





Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease.


Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype.


dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder.


Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.


Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable


Other names (AKA)

Age-related macular degeneration; ARM; Age-related maculopathy;


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye condition characterized by progressive destruction of the macula. The macula is located in the retina in the eye and enables one to see fine details and perform tasks that require central vision, such as reading and driving. Signs and symptoms include vision loss, which usually becomes noticeable in a person's sixties or seventies and tends to worsen over time. There are 2 major types of AMD, known as the dry form and the wet form. The dry form accounts for up to 90% of cases and is characterized by slowly progressive vision loss. The wet form is associated with severe vision loss that can worsen rapidly. AMD is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, some of which have been identified. Increasing age is the most important non-genetic risk factor. The condition appears to run in families in some cases.[1] While there is currently no cure for AMD, there are therapies available to help slow the progression of the condition.


Support and advocacy groups can help you connect with other patients and families, and they can provide valuable services. Many develop patient-centered information and are the driving force behind research for better treatments and possible cures. They can direct you to research, resources, and services. Many organizations also have experts who serve as medical advisors or provide lists of doctors/clinics. Visit the group’s website or contact them to learn about the services they offer. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement by GARD.

Organizations Supporting this Disease

    Learn more

    These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

    Where to Start

    • MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.
    • Genetics Home Reference (GHR) contains information on Macular degeneration. This website is maintained by the National Library of Medicine.
    • The National Eye Institute (NEI) was established by Congress in 1968 to protect and prolong the vision of the American people. Click on the link to view information on this topic.

      In-Depth Information

      • The Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is a catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
      • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Macular degeneration. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.


        1. Age-related macular degeneration. Genetics Home Reference. June 2011; https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/age-related-macular-degeneration. Accessed 10/7/2013.