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What is Macular Degeneration?

Age-related Macula Degeneration (AMD) is the largest cause of visual impairment in the developed world. It affects the central vision, generally both eyes, with one eye often more affected than the other. Peripheral vision remains intact so the sufferer can see to move around, but the central clarity for reading, watching the TV and seeing people’s faces is very often lost.

What Do I Need To Know?

There are two forms of AMD, dry and wet. Dry AMD has a slow onset and often causes distortions in central vision whereas wet AMD has a quick onset which affects central visual acuity.  There are various risk factors for AMD including family history, smoking, and sunlight.  The eye has natural defences to protect the macula including the cornea and lens as well as a layer of yellow pigment in the retina in front of the macula to absorb harmful blue light.

During an eye examination we will take a digital fundus photograph of the retina and macula which helps us detect and monitor any macula degeneration present. At following eye examinations we can then monitor any changes that may take place in the retina and macula.

As well as fundus photography Caroline has an instrument called an MPOD to measure the density of macula pigment, the protective layer, and she can give advice on supplements that can be taken to improve macula pigment density where needed in dry macula degeneration.

In fact, we are so concerned about macula degeneration prevention that all the spectacle lenses we provide now have UV protection to 400nm, and, as far as we can, we choose contact lenses with UV protection too. It is also important to wear sunglasses in bright weather, and we can provide ready made and prescription sunglasses for adults and for children.

Wet macula degeneration has a fast onset so if you notice a sudden change, or loss, in your vision then contact the practice urgently for us to check your eyes. If it is wet macula degeneration then the hospital can treat the condition with injections, but they need to begin as soon as possible after it begins.

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