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MACULAR DEGENERATION

What Is Macular Degeneration?

Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a condition that affects the macular of your eye and results in deteriorating vision. It usually affects both eyes though can present in just one.

The macula is a small area found in the very centre of the retina (the light-sensitive part at the back of the inside of the eye). It is the part of the eye responsible for detailed central vision and plays a big role in being able to see colours.

There are two types of macular degenerative – non-exudative (know as DRY) and exudative (known as WET).

Dry macular degeneration

​This is by far the most common form of AMD and is often accepted as just being a normal ‘age change’. It is far more common with age and is generally slow in its progression, often taking many years before sight is seriously affected. It occurs as the macular starts to struggle to function properly, due to a build-up of ‘waste products’.

Wet macular degeneration

​This is far less common than dry AMD but is usually affects vision much more quickly and can reduce a person’s quality of vision significantly within days. It often manifests itself in the form of blurred/distorted vision – straight lines no longer appear straight. It occurs as a result of new blood vessels forming at the macula, which are weak and so leak or bleed.

Macular degeneration can be detected and diagnosed at a routine eye examination, especially with specialist equipment like an OCT machine (which we have). Early detection of wet macular degeneration is extremely important.

Macular Degeneration Symptoms

Symptoms could include:

  • Blurry vision

  • Difficulty reading

  • Colours appearing less vibrant

  • Difficulty recognising faces

  • Distorted vision (e.g. straight lines not appearing straight)

Macular Degeneration Causes

Increasing age is the biggest cause of macular degeneration. Sadly, there is nothing we can do to stop that. If anyone can, let me know because I think I’ve got enough grey hairs now! Other risk factors are:

  • Smoking

  • Family history

  • Alcohol consumption

  • Obesity

  • Sunlight (get those sunglasses on!)

Macular Degeneration Treatment

Dry macular degeneration

There is currently no treatment known for dry AMD but we can offer advice on life-style, diet and supplements to hopefully slow down the progression of the condition. These changes are often recommended to people over 50 who do not have macular degeneration, but do have a family history of it.

 

Wet macular degeneration

Modern treatments are available for wet AMD which should slow down or stop the condition. The most common treatment for wet AMD involves injections to prevent the blood vessels from leaking. If you feel that your vision is getting worse then you should always seek the advice of your doctor or optometrist. If you notice that straight lines appear wobbly then it is essential you get things checked as soon as possible, ideally that day.

Dry AMD OCT results

DRY AMD

Wet AMD OCT results

WET AMD

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