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Everything you need to know about macular degeneration

What is macular degeneration, the symptoms and what is the treatment?...

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the greatest cause of visual loss in elderly people.

Here is everything you need to know about AMD, the symptoms and how we can help to identify this…

What is macular degeneration?

AMD is prompted by progressive damage to the central part of your retina, which is called the macula.

It can result in very serious detailed vision loss.

What are the symptoms of macular degeneration?

With age-related macular degeneration your central vision can become blurry and over time a blank patch may appear in the centre of your vision.

Symptoms usually start with having difficulty to see detail, for example small print text in a newspaper.

Another common symptom of AMD is the appearance of straight lines beginning to look distorted or wavy.

You may also develop a sensitivity to bright lights (car lights, street lamps etc).

If you begin to experience any of these symptoms you should seek assistance from your local optometrist as soon as possible.

AMD does not cause any pain, and while it doesn’t lead to a total loss of sight it can make every task difficult.

As it affects your central vision it can mean a whole host of normal daily activities become hindered as a result.

Reading, cooking, seeing food, identifying hazards before you, recognising the person in front of you are just some of the most common visual troubles and as they are all easy to take for granted.

What causes macular degeneration?

There is currently no exact cause for the development of AMD, however there are some factors which may make you more likely to develop AMD such as:

  •       Age: AMD develops as people get older and is most commonly seen in people over the age of 65, however it still can develop in younger years.
  •       Gender: There are more women with AMD than men, this is attributed to females typically having a longer lifespan than males.
  •       Genetic: In some cases AMD development has been attributed to a person’s genes, with certain ones being passed down in families where more than one person has AMD. Not all cases of AMD are believed to be hereditary however.
  •       Smoking: One of the many health risks associated with smoking is developing AMD, as such smokers are at great risk. Stop smoking and reduce the risk.
  •       Sunlight: Some research suggest that people who have lived a life where they are more exposed to high levels of sunlight (and the UV light therein) have an increased risk of developing AMD. While these suggestions remain to be proven it is always recommended to wear sunglasses in areas with high sunlight to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.
  •       Diet: Other research has looked at diet as being a risk factor for AMD, but remains to be seen how large a factor it is.

It is always recommended to avoid the last three factors as a general guidance on how to maintain good eye health in your life.

Because there is no defining cause of AMD yet known, you may still develop AMD even if you are currently not at risk from current related factors.

Can macular degeneration be treated?

Visioncall optometrists are all fully qualified to carry out examinations for AMD and will advise on any subsequent referrals.

When speaking to one of our optometrists please do not hesitate to ask for advice on this or other eye health matters.

How can macular degeneration be identified?

If you have any concerns about you vision or if a loved one has complaints regarding their vision you should arrange to see a local optometrist.

This is the best way to have your sight tested and to fully assess your current eye health, allowing for identification of any eye conditions.

Visioncall optometrists can help by carrying out a sight test in a person’s home today.

To arrange a sight test in your residence please click here or call us on 0800 035 6316.