Understanding Macular Degeneration

Estimated Duration: 
1 hour

As the global population ages, macular degeneration (MD), also called age-related macular degeneration, is becoming an important public health issue. Increasing resources are being directed at better understanding the disease and the development of new therapeutic options. Gone are the days when patients were told “there is nothing more we can offer you” with almost certainty that severe vision loss would result. Patients now have a 95% chance of stabilising or increasing vision with appropriate intervention, but early detection and prompt treatment are vital.

This course is designed to provide you with an understanding of MD, how to identify MD in your patients and what investigations are appropriate, what to recommend to your patients with MD and when and to whom to refer your patients. It also provides an overview of what patients can expect on referral to a specialist, treatment options, outcomes, available resources and what the future holds.


Following the course, you will find a short quiz designed to help consolidate your learning. When you complete the quiz please hit the 'submit' button to receive your certificate. This course provides 1 MOPs points or 1 hour of CPD.


Upon completion of this course learners will be able to:

  1. Develop an awareness and understanding of macular degeneration
  2. Identify symptoms and signs of macular degeneration
  3. Understand appropriate investigations
  4. Make recommendations for patients in primary care
  5. Determine when and to whom to refer and help patients understand what to expect on referral to a specialist
  6. Review some future directions in research e.g. Argus II or bionic eye, stem cell therapy, gene therapy, mini implantable telescopes

In addition treatment options will be considered, including:

  • Anti-VEGF therapy
  • Intravitreal injections
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Others


Further resources and information can be found at:
Macular Degeneration New Zealand (MDNZ). This is a useful resource for patients and health professionals. MDNZ is a national charity that aims to reduce the incidence and impact of Macular Degeneration in New Zealand through awareness, education, client services and representation.

As a charity, MDNZ relies upon donations, bequests and fundraising to support its work. If you would like to donate to support MDNZ or arrange for a bequest please contact MDNZ.

Address: PO Box 137070, Parnell, Auckland 1151, New Zealand
Phone: 0800 MACULA (0800 622 852)
Email: [email protected]

Blind Foundation is a non-profit organisation and the main provider of vision-related services to the blind and those with low vision.
Phone: 0800 24 33 33
Email: [email protected]


This content has been developed by Dr Andrew Thompson. Andrew is an ophthalmologist in Tauranga, has a subspecialty interest in the retina and is a trustee of MDNZ. It was updated in 2019.

The material is presented by the Goodfellow Unit (GFU),  an accredited continuing medical education/ continuing professional development (CME/CPD) provider for the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners and functions under a tripartite agreement between the Goodfellow Foundation, the College and the University of Auckland. The Unit is located within the Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, and within the School of Population Health, one of the five Schools within the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences.


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