The part of your eye that controls your central vision (seeing what is directly in front of you) is called the macula. Macular degeneration occurs when the macula is damaged.
Macular degeneration that appears in later life is called age related macular degeneration (AMD). It is the most common cause of sight loss in the developed world*. Symptoms of AMD can develop very slowly and may include:
- Distorted vision
- Blurred vision
- Gaps in your central vision
- Dark spots
- Faded colours
- Sensitivity to bright lights
- Difficulty going from dark to light environments
- Words on a page disappear
Macular degeneration is a painless condition. If you have eye pain you should seek medical advice immediately.
The cause of macular degeneration is not known. However age and a family history of the condition could be risk factors for development.
How is macular degeneration treated?
There are several types of macular degeneration. Your treatment will depend on your particular situation.
You will be referred to a Consultant Ophthalmologist who will perform a full examination including dilating (widening) your pupils so they can clearly see the back of your eye. They may perform scans of your eye or Fluorescein angiography to check the level of blood flow at the back of your eye.
Once your consultant confirms what type of macular degeneration you have, they may prescribe a course of treatment including drugs, a series of injections or laser treatment. Be sure and discuss your particular treatment with your consultant.
*Source – The Macular Society.
Visit the Macular Society website for the latest information on treating macular degeneration.