The macular is one of the most important functioning areas of the eye, and is responsible for giving us our central vision - what is right in front of us. When macular function and central vision is lost, it can be quite debilitating as it affects the ability to read and recognise fine objects or faces.
Most macular degeneration is age-related with the risk increasing after the age of 60.
There are two main forms of macular degeneration. Dry AMD and Wet AMD.
Dry AMD is a slow-progressing form of macular degeneration where a build-up of waste material called drusen impairs the macular cells' access to proper nutrients causing the cells to slowly die off. This leads to slow, progressive central vision loss.
There are currently no known treatments to cure dry AMD, but studies have shown that the correct macular nutrients in the form of diet or supplementation can slow the process of deterioration down.
Wet AMD can also occur over time as the body begins to produce new leaky blood vessels as a response to impaired nutrition to the macula. The bleeding causes sudden severe vision loss. If left untreated, the damage becomes irreversible.
Currently, wet AMD can be treated with an ocular injection that stops the fluid from leaking into the macula, and often people will require regular ongoing treatment. Wet AMD can be self-monitored in between optometrist assessments at home using an Amsler Grid.
We have a selection of visual aids in practice including magnifiers and task lighting for those affected by macular degeneration.
Eating a healthy diet, exercising and wearing sunglasses are a few ways to try and keep your eyes healthy. A regular eye examination will be able to detect any early signs of macular degeneration.