The experience of living with age related macular degeneration
: A longitudinal study into the impact of age related macular degeneration on quality of life

  • Amy Burton

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


In this thesis I contribute to the understanding of the experience of living with Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and its impact on quality of life through the use of a pragmatically guided mixed methods approach. AMD is a condition resulting in the loss of central vision in old age which can have a huge impact on the lives of patients. This thesis includes: literature reviewing; qualitative meta-synthesis; surveys and descriptive statistics; observation; and analysis of in-depth interviewing, in order to build a picture of what it is like for older people to live with AMD. I present the findings from six separate studies each designed to answer specific research questions. I begin with a mixed methods study to determine how well the most commonly used measure of quality of life for AMD patients’ represents patient experiences. I then go on to investigate the experiences of patients with AMD through a meta-synthesis of qualitative research and finally present four of my own empirical studies three of which investigate the experiences of patients with different types of AMD: early dry AMD, treatable wet AMD and advanced wet AMD and the final study investigates what it is like for a couple living together with AMD. Throughout the qualitative studies I use Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to develop an understanding of
the experiences and life contexts of patients with AMD. Through rigorous analysis, I identify a range of themes which highlight the shared and divergent experiences of individuals with AMD and the need to acknowledge patients’ past, present and potential future life contexts
and experiences when providing services to older people with AMD. I relate the findings of the six studies to the wider psychological literature on chronic illness and make recommendations for services for patients with AMD to be provided holistically within a lifeworld-led health care model.
Date of Award8 Jan 2013
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJonathan M Gibson (Supervisor), Rachel Shaw (Supervisor) & Elizabeth A Peel (Supervisor)


  • age-related macular degeneration
  • mixed methods
  • quality of life
  • phenomenology

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