Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the leading causes of sight loss across the world, and the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK. The macular is part of the retina at the back of your eye and is responsible for central vision, colour and the fine detail of what we can see.
What is macular degeneration?
AMD usually affects people aged over 55 and there are 2 different types – wet and dry. Both types affect your central vision, leaving your peripheral vision intact. AMD can affect either one or both of your eyes.
Dry AMD is the most common and is caused by the cells of the macula slowly deteriorating. The disease is progressive, meaning it gets worse gradually. Wet AMD is caused by abnormal blood vessels growing into the macular, which leads to rapid loss of central vision.
Symptoms of both types of AMD include:
- Gaps in your vision
- Colours appearing faded
- Straight lines looking wavy or distorted
- Aversion to bright light
- Things in front of you appearing to disappear, move or change shape.
An OCT scan is one of the best ways to detect and diagnose AMD because it provides a detailed view of the back of the eye and its different layers, which can help to detect even the smallest of changes to the macular. Early detection means we can put together a care plan to manage the condition.
Treatment for AMD
There’s currently no cure for dry AMD, but we can help you manage the symptoms and slow its progression with eye vitamin supplements. There’s evidence that the carotenoid lutein, found in green leafy vegetables, can slow or prevent dry AMD, but research is still ongoing. There are a number of vision aids, such as magnifiers, available to help you live as comfortably as possible with dry AMD.
Wet AMD can be treated with injections to minimise further damage to your sight if it’s caught early. These stop the growth of abnormal blood vessels in your eye, slowing the progress of AMD and could potentially save your vision.
Having advanced eye exams on a regular basis is the best way of catching early signs of eye disease early. If you have any concerns or symptoms of AMD, book yourself in so our optometrist can check your vision and eye health for your peace of mind.