"It is a victory for thousands, bringing overwhelming relief to desperate people across the country.
"Finally the torment faced by elderly people forced to either spend their life savings on private treatment or go blind, is over."
Tom Bremridge, chief executive of the Macular Disease Society, welcomed the "long-awaited" guidance.
But he said: "Those responsible for NICE should be aware that during the cumbersome two-year review process 152 PCTs have individually had the power to decide whether to let patients go blind or to save their sight.
"The resulting stress and suffering has been cruel and unnecessary."
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) comes in two forms - wet and dry - with the dry form being much more common. However, the wet type is more aggressive and is responsible for about 90% of blindness caused by the condition.
Almost 20,000 people a year are diagnosed with wet AMD in England.
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