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The symptoms of macular degeneration may occur in one eye first. A common question is whether having macular degeneration in one eye means the other eye will be affected.   

If you have macular degeneration in one eye, there is an increased risk that the condition will affect both eyes. A group of researchers published findings on this topic in 2017, based on a data analysis from three studies1. The analysis showed that of macular degeneration diagnoses in one eye1:

  • 20-25 percent of cases progressed to both eyes in five years; and 
  • Up to 50 percent of late stage cases progressed to both eyes in five years. 

The analysis also showed that smoking, a known macular degeneration risk factor, is significantly associated with the progression of the condition to both eyes1.  

Talk to your eye doctor to understand the treatment option that is best for you and help your doctor control the progression of your condition. The most commonly prescribed treatments for wet AMD can slow the progression of the disease, help protect your vision, and even help regain a portion of the vision you may have lost2.



1Joachim N, Colijn JM, Kifley A, et al. Five-year progression of unilateral age-related macular degeneration to bilateral involvement: the Three Continent AMD Consortium report. British Journal of Ophthalmology 2017;101:1185-1192.

2National Eye Institute. Facts About Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Available at Accessed November 2019.