Macular degeneration is a common eye condition that affects the middle part of your vision. It’s often referred to as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) because it typically develops in a person’s 50s or 60s. This eye condition is one of the most common causes of vision loss among older people within the UK, making every day activities like reading or driving difficult.
Types of AMD
There are two types of AMD: wet and dry. Wet AMD often develops suddenly. It occurs when new blood vessels grow behind the macula and begin to leak – which can damage the cells and stop them from working. Dry AMD usually develops slowly and is caused by a build-up of waste within the eyes’ cells.
Causes and risk factors
Causes and risk factors include:
- Exposure to ultraviolet light
- Poor diet
- High blood pressure
- Being overweight
While symptoms can vary from person to person, the first thing you’ll likely notice is blurred or distorted vision. It may be difficult to read fine print or straight lines may appear wavy. Your eyes may also be more sensitive to bright lights. Because of AMD, it may be difficult to recognise faces, watch TV, read or drive. Colours may also appear less bright than they used to.
Treatment options available
AMD is an irreversible condition so it’s crucial to detect it as early as possible so that proper treatment can be put in place. If left undiagnosed and untreated, AMD can lead to permanent vision loss.
We recommend yearly eye exams to test for conditions like AMD. Using specialist equipment like our OCT scan, we’re able to diagnose and monitor the condition to keep your eyes as safe as possible.
Each assessment takes between 10-15 minutes and can be conducted as part of your regular eye exam.
The importance of regular eye exams
Regular eye exams enable us to monitor your eye health and detect AMD as early as possible. Our qualified optometrists can decide the best treatment and whether referral to the hospital eye department is necessary.