Age-related Macular Degeneration and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Published: February 23, 2021

AMD and COVID 19 600px

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness for Americans over the age of 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control.(1) There are two forms of age-related macular degeneration, “dry” and “wet.” Wet age-related macular degeneration is the more advanced and serious form of macular degeneration. Some patients with wet age-related macular degeneration have wondered about the safety of going into an office for regular AMD treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Treatment for the more serious form of the disease, “wet” AMD, involves the injection of an anti-VEGF drug into the eye to stop the bleeding and leaking from blood vessels that impairs vision.(2) Getting fewer anti-VEGF injections than recommended leads to a decrease in visual acuity that cannot be recovered.(3)

Clinics that treat patients with AMD take many precautions to reduce the potential for virus transmission during appointments, according to The American Academy of Ophthalmology.(4)

The American Academy of Ophthalmology states that missing even a single appointment can have a negative effect on vision. The academy recommends that patients concerned about coming to the office for an appointment may in some instances be able to stretch time between injections, if vision is stable and the physician agrees that this would be a safe and viable option.(4)

The American Macular Degeneration Foundation recommends that patients “with early, dry AMD postpone non-urgent doctor visits, maintain home monitoring and continue making healthy lifestyle choices.” The Foundation stresses the importance of communication with one’s physician to establish the best course of action for each individual patient.(5)


(1) Centers for Disease Control, Learn About Age-Related Macular Degeneration, https://www.cdc.gov/
(2) National Eye Institute, Age-Related Macular Degeneration, https://www.nei.nih.gov/
(3) McKinney, S., Review of Ophthalmology, Easing the Anti-VEGF Treatment Burden, https://www.reviewofophthalmology.com/
(4) Sedden, J. M.D., Khurana, R. M.D., American Academy of Ophthalmology, Coronavirus and Your Macular Degeneration Care, https://www.aao.org/
(5) American Macular Degeneration Foundation, Coronavirus And Your Macular Degeneration Care, https://www.macular.org/