Non-profit Organization to Hold Events Across the Country on Age-related Macular Degeneration, the Leading Cause of Blindness in Older Americans

CHICAGO (June 9, 2011) – Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), currently affects the vision of more than 2 million Americans ages 50 and older and, AMD is the leading cause of blindness in the Western world. That is why Prevent Blindness America and its affiliates across the country will be launching the “AMD: Awareness Makes a Difference” campaign on Thursday, June 16, 2011.  The day has been designated by the non-profit organization as AMD Awareness Day.

On June 16, AMD: Awareness Makes a Difference activities include:

  • Prevent Blindness America - Kentucky will sponsor a free presentation on AMD by local ophthalmologist Dr. Charles Wheeler followed by a free vision screening at the Family Health Clinic in Shepherdsville, Ky. 
  • Prevent Blindness America - Illinois will host a free presentation on AMD by local ophthalmologist Dr. Stephen M. Conti followed by a free vision screening at the Niles Senior Center in Niles, Ill.
  • Prevent Blindness Georgia will host a “Lunch and Learn” presentation about AMD from Jenny Pomeroy, CEO of Prevent Blindness Georgia, at the North DeKalb Senior Center in Atlanta, Ga.
  • Prevent Blindness Mid-Atlantic will sponsor a free presentation and question-and-answer session on AMD by Dr. Aziz Khanifar, an ophthalmologist with The Retina Group of Washington at the Lisner Louise Dickson Hurt Home in Washington, D.C. 
  • Prevent Blindness Ohio will partner with The Ohio State University and Ohio’s Aging Eye Public Private Partnership to hold an AMD Summit at the Havener Eye Institute in Columbus, Ohio.

AMD slowly robs people of their central vision and, if left untreated, can result in severe vision loss and even blindness. There are two forms of AMD: "dry" and "wet". Dry AMD is the most common form of the disease. Vision loss in dry AMD usually progresses slowly. Approximately 10 to 20 percent of dry AMD cases will progress to wet AMD.

Wet AMD is less common, but more rapidly threatening to vision. Wet AMD causes tiny blood vessels under the retina to leak or break open. This distorts vision and causes scar tissue to form. If left untreated, the majority of eyes affected with wet AMD will become functionally blind within two years, according to AMD Alliance International.

Nationally, AMD costs the U.S. economy $570 million every year in direct medical costs for outpatient, inpatient and prescription drug services.

Prevent Blindness America invites the public to visit “The AMD Learning Center” at, developed as a free online resource that provides a variety of educational tools including AMD risk factors, treatment options and the Adult Vision Risk Assessment quiz. 

For information on the AMD: Awareness Makes a Difference and local events, or for free information on AMD and other blinding eye diseases, please visit Prevent Blindness America at or call (800) 331-2020.

Download the AMD Awareness press release.