Macular Degeneration is the name given to the group of eye diseases that affect the retina, causing progressive loss of the central (reading) vision. It never causes complete blindness as the surrounding (side) vision remains normal, but impairs a person’s ability to read, recognise faces, drive, and makes it difficult to recognise colours and contrasts.
Some forms of AMD advance slowly so people may not notice their vision getting worse until the later stages of the disease. Other forms progress faster and can lead to sudden loss of vision.
AMD does not usually cause pain. It often has no symptoms in the early stages. People with AMD may have some or all of the following symptoms: distorted vision, difficulty with reading or clearly seeing faces that does not improve with prescription glasses, dark patches or empty spaces (‘blindspots’) in the centre of the vision.
Some people may be more at risk of developing AMD. These include:
Early detection of AMD is important to help limit vision loss. Regular eye tests with an eye health professional, even if you do not notice any change in your vision, are essential for early detection of AMD. If you notice a change in your vision, don’t delay, see an eye health professional immediately.
In addition, eat a healthy diet including fish, nuts, fresh fruit and leafy green vegetables and if you are a smoker, quit smoking.
There is currently no cure for AMD, and treatment efforts are directed at maintaining useful central vision for as long as possible. Treatment varies depending on the type of AMD and individual characteristics of the condition. There are currently no proven treatments to reverse the effects of dry AMD. Some vitamins, minerals and antioxidants ‘may’ slow down the progression of early stage of AMD.
Wet AMD is treated with Intravitreal Injection. Drugs are injected into the back of the eye, reducing leakage from the blood vessels under the retina. Since this is not a cure, the majority of patients receiving these treatments will require life-long therapy at 1-3 monthly intervals.