Macular Degeneration is also known as Age Related Macular Degeneration and increases in frequency as we get older. The macula is the small area in the center of the retina that provides us with our high resolution, central vision. In macular degeneration the cells in the macula become diseased and damaged.
It’s a progressive disease that initially causes slight blurring but can lead to a complete loss of central vision. Though the peripheral vision is not affected.
There are 2 types of macular degeneration; wet and dry. The more severe vision loss occurs with the wet macula, which happens in approximately 10% of cases. Vision loss can be minimised if treated with an injected medication in the very early stages. Regular eye exams and regular self-monitoring with an Amsler grid are crucial in this process.
There is also an increased risk of macular degeneration if it runs in your family. All adults who have a family member with macular degeneration should have regular eye exams. If you have macular degeneration please make sure your family members are aware.
How can I reduce my risk of vision loss from Macular degeneration?
- If you smoke. stop… Smoking increases the risk of macular degeneration by up to 4 times!
- Eat a lot of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, as well as fish and tree nuts. Reduce your use of vegetable oils and margarine and replace them with healthy oils like olive oil.
- Keep your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol within normal levels.
- Make sure you protect your eyes from blue light by asking your optometrist to put a blue light filter onto your spectacle lenses.
- Regularly monitor your central vision with an Amsler grid for any deterioration.
Most importantly, remember to schedule regular eye checkups with your optometrist. Early detection will give you the best chance of preserving your eyesight. To find out more on macular degeneration visit your local Eyecare Plus Optometrist Practice or visit the Macular Degeneration Fountation.