What is Macular Degeneration & Its Types

Macular Degeneration (MD)

Causes the macula to deteriorate. If it occurs later in life, it is called Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD). This leads to varying degrees of visual impairment and will impairment and will impede daily activities such as reading, driving, recognizing faces and working with fine detail. It does not lead to total blindness since peripheral vision is not lost.

This is the steady deterioration of the cells of the macula. Onset and progression is normally gradual. Unfortunately there is currently no treatment for Dry MD but those with the condition can be considerably helped by the use of low vision aids. Giving up smoking, maintaining a healthy diet, and/or the use of nutritional supplements may stabilize of both type of MD


This results from the growth of abnormal blood vessels lying behind the macula. These vessels leak fluid causing damage and scarring to the macula itself leading to loss of central vision. Wet MD often starts suddenly and can progress very quickly.

THERE ARE TREATMENTS TO STABLISE SOME FORMS OF WET MD BUT THEY MUST BE GIVEN VERY SOON AFTER THE ONSET OF SYMPTOMS. SPEED IS ESSENTIAL

Rapid diagnosis is critical. If you have noticed a sudden change in your vision go without delay to your optometrist (optician) who can refer you direct to a retinal specialist at the most suitable clinic. For suspected Wet MD, a patient should be seen urgently and within a week if possible. More than 3 weeks is too long a delay for this appointment. For Dry MD change will be more gradual and a patient should receive an ophthalmic assessment within 3 months. Your condition may be referred to as wet or dry AMD.

After diagnosis you may be offered active treatment of the disease but these treatments are not suitable for everyone. Either way you should be given further advice and appropriate support.

Low Vision Assessment-

This should be arranged by your Hospital eye Service or by Social services

Local Societies for the Blind

Have extensive knowledge of support and help available.

YOUR EYES

The eye is like a camera. The front part is clear and contains the lens that focuses light onto the retina at the back, which is like the film in the camera. In the centre of the retina lies the MACULA, an area the size of a grain of rice which contains the cells that process the fine detail and colour of what you see. The rest of the retina lying outside the macula processes your peripheral vision. Macular Degeneration (MD)

Self Help

Stop smoking

Eat a healthy diet or take a nutritional supplement –The Macular Disease Society has information on this

Ask an eye specialist about having a low vision assessment

Visit a sight or resource centre to view and try optical and electronic aids to vision and daily living

Go to the optometrist quickly if you detect any change and certainly at least every two years

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