50% of those registered as sight impaired in the UK have age-related macular degeneration. This means that around half a million people in the UK have some degree of the condition currently.
Age related macular degeneration is known as AMD and is an eye condition that affects the central part of the retina, called the macula. It causes changes to your central vision which can make everyday tasks more difficult.
There are two types of age-related macular degeneration:
This is the most common type of AMD and it develops very slowly, causing a gradual change in central vision. When it is advanced, AMD causes a blank patch in the centre of your vision.
This type can develop very quickly and can cause damage to your central vision over just days and weeks. Wet AMD develops when the cells of the macula stop working and the body grows new blood vessels to try and correct the problem. These blood vessels cause swelling and bleeding underneath the macular which leads to scarring. You may then develop a blank patch in the centre of your vision.
Both conditions affect the central vision and not your peripheral vision so neither will cause you to lose your sight completely.
Macular degeneration can be picked up during a routine eye test so it is essential to have one regularly to pick up any changes. You should also see your optician urgently if you experience any of these symptoms:
- Your vision is not as clear as it used to be
- Straight lines look distorted
- You have difficulty reading small print even with your reading glasses
There is currently no treatment for dry age-related macular degeneration but you should eat well as vitamins can help.
Wet AMD can be treated with medications called anti-vascular endothelial growth factor drugs (anti-VEGF). These work by stopping new blood vessels from growing and prevent further damage to your eyesight. The medicine needs to be injected into the vitreous inside your eye.
If you have been diagnosed with AMD then have a look at the Macular Society website for more information and support. They have a great helpline and a team of Sight Loss counsellors who can assist you.
Find out more about living with dry AMD from Shirley https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtWS3eo03Dg
More information about AMD from the NHS website
If you find it difficult to get to your High Street optician please give us a call now on ☎ 0203 418 8488. We can come to your home and carry out a full NHS eye test there for you. Our Team and very friendly and professional and will look after you very well. Find out more http://www.communitycareopticians.co.uk