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Macular Degeneration – symptoms, causes & treatments
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Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) usually affects people over 60, and is the leading cause of vision loss in the western world.

Eye Diagram showing macular
Eye Diagram showing where the Macular is inside the Eye

Macular degeneration is a condition that affects the macula – the tiny, central part of the retina at the back of your eye. The macula is the part of your eye responsible for your central, colour and detailed vision, so its breakdown can cause severe vision problems.

Macular degeneration symptoms

Macular degeneration can affect one or both eyes, and typically causes problems with your central vision. You may notice that reading and close work become difficult, and there may be blank areas, or a grey or black spot in the centre of your vision.

Your peripheral or ‘side’ vision will usually remain unaffected if you suffer from macular degeneration. This means that even people with severe macular degeneration, whose central vision is badly affected, can usually still get about and look after themselves quite well.

Watch Video about Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration symptoms are quite similar to those of a macular hole, but an eye specialist will be able to give you an accurate diagnosis.

Eye Diagram showing macular    Eye Diagram showing macular
Left: An Amsler Grid with straight lines as seen by a normal-sighted person. Right: A person with macular degeneration may notice distortion of the grid pattern such as bent lines and irregular box shapes or a grey shaded area

Have you just been diagnosed with wet AMD?

Have you or someone you know experienced a change in vision in one or both of your eyes? Symptoms like a central blur or decreased intensity of colour and distortion may indicate a common condition called macular degeneration (MD).

At Eye Institute we are researching to find the best treatments for wet MD so if you are diagnosed with this form you may be eligible to participate in our current study. If you have not had previous treatment for wet MD and qualify for this study, you will receive all the study medication, study related expert medical care at no cost and travel reimbursement.

Interested in learning more about the study and wet AMD?

Types of AMD

There are two main types of AMD:

Eye Diagram showing macular
An eye with Dry AMD

Dry AMD:

Dry AMD is the most common form of macular degeneration, and affects around 85 to 90% of people with AMD. Vision loss is usually gradual, and rarely severe.

Wet AMD:

Wet AMD is the more aggressive form of macular degeneration, and can lead to rapid and severe vision loss. However, it only occurs in 10 to 15% of AMD sufferers.

In wet AMD, abnormal blood vessels grow underneath the macula. These can leak fluid and blood, causing permanent damage to the retina. Symptoms of wet AMD include a reduction of central vision, and also distortion of vision, which can make straight lines (such as window frames, telegraph poles or lines of text) look bent or wavy. The Amsler Grid is a simple test that will help you determine if your vision is distorted in this way.

Causes of macular degeneration

Macular degeneration is generally caused by ageing, and usually affects people aged 60 and over. As we age, areas of the central retina (the macula) can gradually become thin and stop working, causing blank spots in your central vision.

There is also evidence to suggest that smoking, obesity and high blood pressure can increase the risk of developing AMD.

Macular degeneration treatments

Many people do not realise they are suffering from macular degeneration, until the symptoms become obvious. Early detection and treatment can help slow down and even stop macular degeneration, and could save your sight. It’s therefore important to see an eye specialist for regular check-ups, especially if you notice any changes in your vision.

Eye Institute offers some of the most advanced macular degeneration treatments available. Make an appointment with one of our eye specialists today for an accurate diagnosis, and to discuss your treatment options.

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