What is macular degeneration?
The macula is the central area of the retina at the back of the eyes. It is packed with cells that allow us to see fine detail. In macular degeneration, the macula region is damaged resulting in reduced vision. Young people can get macula problems, but one of the most common causes of macular degeneration is age. This is known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The disease ranges across a whole spectrum from being mild where it barely affects the vision to very severe resulting in blindness.
What is the treatment for AMD?
There are two types of AMD; dry and wet. Currently, there is no treatment for dry AMD (but research is always ongoing). For wet AMD, there are treatments which try to limit the damage and vision loss. However, the treatments cannot restore the vision to the level it was at before the disease. The treatment involves injections in the eye under local anaesthetic, and is nowhere near as uncomfortable as it sounds – you’ll just have to take our word for it!
Can AMD be prevented or slowed down?
It is established that a healthy diet goes a long way to helping against AMD. Green vegetables such as spinach and kale in particular contain the nutrients needed. Protecting the eyes from the sun and not smoking will also help against AMD. An Amsler Grid is a very simple and easy way to assess your eyes by yourself. It only takes a few seconds, and you can download and print your own Amsler Grid here, and stick it on the fridge. We advise this check is done once a week. This check is particularly important for people who have had macular degeneration in one eye, to ensure the other eye gets close attention.
Living with AMD
Good lighting is very important to aid people with AMD. Vision aids such as magnifiers can also be helpful, along with utilising modern-day technologies in the right way such as tablet computers and mobile phones.
If you notice any strange distortion in your vision in either eye, consult your eye care practitioner immediately.
Useful link: for more information on macular degeneration, visit Macular Society.