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.

 

This Eye Diagram shows you where the Macula is inside the Eye It’s is a condition that afects 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.
 

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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 dicult, 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 sufer 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.
 

 

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

There are two types of macular degeneration – wet and dry.

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 occasionally severe. However, it can change into 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. You can test yourself here.

This images above shows an Amsler Grid with straight lines as seen by a normal-sighted person on the left and on the right as might be seen by a person with macular degeneration, who may notice distortion of the grid pattern as bent lines, irregular box shapes or a grey shaded area.
 

Causes

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.
 

Treatments

Many people do not realise they are suffering from macular degeneration, until the symptoms become very 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.

If you or someone you know has experienced a change in vision in one or both of your eyes and has symptoms like a central blur or decreased intensity of colour and distortion this may indicate macular degeneration (MD). Get it seen today. We provide some of the most advanced treatments available.

 

Make an appointment with one of our eye specialists for an accurate diagnosis, and to discuss your treatment options.

Call us on 0800 99 2020

Book now

Have you just been diagnosed with wet AMD?

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 a current study. If you have not had previous treatment for wet MD and qualify for a 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? Email us at enquiries@eyeinstitute.co.nz