What is age related macular degeneration?
Age related macular degeneration is an eye condition that causes no pain to the eye, it causes you to lose central vision in both eyes usually. Vision will become increasingly worse and result in the following:
• People’s faces are harder to recognise
• Colours will not seem as vibrant as they did before
• Reading will become more difficult
Age related macular degeneration will not cause you to go completely blind as it only affects your central vision and not your peripheral vision (side vision).
There are two types of age related macular degeneration:
• Dry AMD – When cells of the macula become damaged by a build-up of deposits in your eye called drusen. This is the most common type of macular degeneration and also the least serious. Vision loss will be gradual and will occur over several years.
• Wet AMD – When abnormal blood vessels from underneath the macula form and damage cells. This is a more serious case than dry AMD. Without treatment vision can get worse within a few days.
What does age related macular degeneration look like?
Macular degeneration will not be noticeable if looking at someone with it but you will be able to see it when your Optometrist takes a photo of the back of the eye and also on an OCT scan (Ocular Coherence Tomography).
What causes macular degeneration?
The exact cause of macular degeneration remains unknown. The one thing we do know is that the condition does develop as the eye ages.
How do I avoid them?
If you suffer from any symptoms like a sudden change in vision, blind spots appearing in your vision or images becoming distorted, see your local Opticare Opticians immediately and we will be able to help. Our Optometrist will carry out a very thorough examination. Including our advanced eye care scan which will let us see the macula and the eye in great detail allowing us to detect any problems early on.
You can reduce your risk of getting macular degeneration by doing the following:
• Not smoking
• Trying to eat a healthy well balanced diet such as leafy greens and colourful veg.
• Don’t over do the booze!
• Maintaining a healthy weight
• Wearing UV absorbing glasses
• Having regular eye tests and OCT scans
For Dry AMD it cannot be cured but life can be made easier for you to live with it. For example you may be referred to a low vision aid clinic where the staff and medical teams will help you by providing:
• Magnifying lenses
• Large print books
• Very bright reading lights
This will help to make things a bit easier and more manageable.
For Wet AMD it can be improved with either:
• Medication (anti-VEGF) which will prevent growth of new blood vessels in the eye.
• Laser Surgery which will destroy the abnormal blood vessels in the eye.
Have any concerns?
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