Psychosocial effects of age-related macular degeneration

Int Psychogeriatr. 2006 Sep;18(3):415-28. doi: 10.1017/S1041610205002905. Epub 2006 Feb 8.


Background: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects approximately 10% of persons aged 65-74 years and 30% of those aged 75 and older and is the major cause of blindness in old age. AMD is progressive and irreversible.

Aim: To review the psychosocial effects of AMD.

Method: OVID data bases (MEDLINE, psycINFO and CINAHL) from 1966 to 2004 were reviewed.

Results: AMD is associated with functional impairment, high rates of depression, anxiety and emotional distress and increased mortality. Risk factors for depression are not well-defined, except for the degree of functional impairment and impending or actual loss of vision in the second eye. Behavioral and self-management programs may be effective in managing depression associated with AMD, but few studies have been performed, and none using drugs or multimodal therapy.

Conclusion: AMD will become even more prevalent as the population ages. Identification of risk factors for psychological consequences and of effective interventions remain to be recognized.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology
  • Affective Symptoms / diagnosis
  • Affective Symptoms / psychology
  • Affective Symptoms / therapy
  • Aged
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy
  • Blindness / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration / psychology*