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Age Related Macular Degeneration

macularThe macula is the most utilised part of the retina (tissue lining the back of the eye), which is responsible for our central vision. It allows us to perform fine detailed activities such as reading, writing and the ability to discriminate colours.

What is Macular Degeneration?

The macula is very delicate. Sometimes the cells that form the macula can become damaged and stop working due to an ageing process of the retina. This is called “age related macular degeneration” or ARMD for short.

There are two main types: Wet and Dry

Wet Macular Degeneration is due to new blood vessels growing under the macula, which can leak blood or fluid. This can cause scarring and vision loss. It has a rapid onset, usually a few months, and can be treated with laser if caught early.

Dry Macular Degeneration develops more slowly, usually over years but cannot be treated. It is the most common form of Macular Degeneration (90% of cases). Usually it involves both eyes although one eye may be more affected than another.

The Good news!

Macular degeneration is not painful and almost never leads to total blindness. It is the most common cause of poor sight in the over 60-age groups but never affects the vision outside the central area. This means that almost everybody will still have their peripheral vision (side vision) to keep their independence. Near vision can be improved by using stronger reading spectacles or magnifiers.

What are the symptoms?

The central vision can become blurred or distorted. Objects can appear to be an unusual size or shape and straight lines wavy or fuzzy. Colour vision can change slightly as can your sensitivity to light. If the condition is advanced then you may notice a blank patch in your vision or dark spot. This can make seeing small objects or faces very difficult.

Normal Sight
Vision with Macular Degeneration

pdficon large Age Related Macular Degeneration - Download PDF from The Eye Care Trust with more infomation.