What is Macular Degeneration?
The Macula is the part of the eye responsible for seeing fine detail and colour. It is located in the central part of our retina. As we age, the macula degenerates and can lead to blurred, distorted vision or in some cases, loss of central vision.
It is the leading cause of blindness in the over 60’s.
There are 2 forms of Macular Degeneration – Wet and Dry
This is the most common form of AMD and accounts for approx 90% of cases. It causes a slow, gradual loss of vision over an extended period of time.
This form of AMD causes a sudden loss of vision and is caused by leaking from blood vessels at the back of the eye.
Factors that can contribute towards AMD.
These can include; your age, smoking, family history, diet, gender (higher risk for women), high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and light exposure.
Smokers are twice as likely to develop AMD.
Research indicates that smokers are twice as likely to develop AMD than non-smokers and are likely to develop the condition up to 10 years earlier, with significantly greater visual loss. If you’re a smoker make sure you have regular eye examinations.
There are several ways to check for the presence of AMD during an eye examination. This can be done by shining a light into your eye and looking at the Macula through a specialist lens, carrying out an OCT scan of the back of your eye or by asking you to look at an Amsler Grid.
Steps you can take to maintain good eye health.
- Diet – Eat foods rich in anti-oxidants for example, oily fish, orange and yellow peppers and sweetcorn, along with green leafy veg eg spinach, curly kale and cabbage.
- Nutritional supplements – supplements that contain Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Meso-Zeaxanthin help maintain good eye health.
- Light Exposure – Always wear good quality sunglasses which protect the eyes from harmful UV rays
- Exercise – Take regular exercise which helps with weight management, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Exposure to high energy blue light radiation and the earlier onset of AMD
We are becoming more aware of the link between exposure to high energy blue light radiation and the earlier onset of AMD. This blue light is emitted from all digital device screens and LED lights. Cumulative exposure to this low dose radiation ages the eye faster. We should aim to limit our screen times and where available, alter display settings on digital devices to reduce Blue light emissions. We can also incorporate Blue light protection into your new spectacle lenses.
An Amsler Grid is frequently given to patients to allow them to self monitor for sudden changes in vision.
Using an Amsler Grid is a quick and simple way to monitor your vision for early symptoms of AMD.
Test yourself now for the early symptoms of AMD.