Macular Degeneration Is The Biggest Cause Of Sight Loss

By support on June 25, 2018

Raising awareness of the biggest cause of sight loss in the developed world is an essential part of a better future for people with macular disease.

What is age-related macular degeneration?   Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects a tiny part of the retina at the back of your eye,called the macula. AMD causes changes to the macula, which leads to problems with your central vision. AMD doesn’t cause pain, and doesn’t lead to the total loss of sight. AMD affects the vision you use when you’re looking straight at something, for example when you’re reading, looking at photos or watching television. Your central vision can become distorted or blurry, and over time, a blank patch may appear in the centre of your vision.

Why have I developed AMD?   The exact cause for AMD is not known. Some things are thought to make it more likely you’ll develop AMD, such as:

• Your age: AMD develops as people grow older and while it’s most often seen in those aged over 65, it can also develop in people who are in their forties and fifties.

• Your gender: more women have AMD than men, probably because women tend to live longer than men.

• Your genes: certain genes have been found which seem to be linked to the development of AMD in some people. This has been discovered by looking at families with more than one member who has AMD. However, not all AMD is thought to be inherited.

• Smoking: smoking greatly increases your risk of developing AMD – you can reduce this risk if you stop smoking.

What are the symptoms and when should I seek help?    Everyone can have slightly different symptoms, but usually the first thing you’ll notice is that it’s harder to see detail, such as small print. You may find that your vision has a small blurred area in the centre. Straight lines may look distorted or wavy, or like there’s a little bump in them. You may also find that you’re more sensitive to bright light. You should have your eyes tested by an optometrist (also known as an optician) if you experience any of these in one or both eyes:

• You have difficulty reading small print despite wearing reading glasses.

• Straight lines start to look wavy or distorted.

• Your vision isn’t as clear as it used to be.

AMD is not painful and it never leads to a complete loss of vision. Most people with AMD retain their peripheral vision, which means they can still get around on their own.

How will it be diagnosed?   AMD is diagnosed by having a regular eye test. We monitor your eyes for a range of diseases as well as changes in your vision and we have invested heavily in major new technology to make it even easier to be diagnosed at an earlier stage with our OCT and OPTOMAP  scanners. It has never before been possible to have a better eye examination. We continue to be the only optician in Northumberland with the hospital grade OPTOMAP scanner!

How can you protect your eyes from AMD?   A regular eye exam is the best way for your eyes to be checked and monitored. A healthy and varied diet with lots of leafy greens, fruit and vegetables with exercise is highly recommended. Protect your eyes from the sun, wear sunglasses as often as possible outdoors. Stop smoking! Smoking is the biggest cause of macular degeneration, not to mention all the other effects on your body.

Please make an appointment if you have concerns about macular degeneration or any other issues. Book online or call in today.

*source RNIB & Zeiss