International Psychogeriatrics


Psychosocial effects of age-related macular degeneration

K. Berman a1 and H. Brodaty a1a2c1
a1 Academic Department for Old Age Psychiatry, Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, NSW, Australia
a2 School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Randwick, NSW, Australia

Article author query
berman k   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
brodaty h   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


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.

(Received February 3 2005)
(returned for revision April 28 2005)
(revised version received August 25 2005)
(Accepted August 31 2005)
(Published Online February 8 2006)

Key Words: blind; blindness; depression; aging; functional impairment.

c1 Correspondence should be addressed to: H. Brodaty, Academic Department for Old Age Psychiatry, Euroa Centre, Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, NSW 2031, Australia. Phone: +61 2 9382 3759; Fax: +61 2 9382 3762. Email: