Macular Degeneration is often an age-related eye condition which affects the macula; the tiny part of the retina at the back of your eye. In medical terms it is known as AMD and with today’s medical knowledge it is easily treatable.
Breaking It Down
AMD causes problems with your central vision, don’t worry its painless and it won’t lead to total loss of sight. The problem arises when you directly look at something; reading, looking at photographs and watching television are all good examples of this. The central vision will become somewhat distorted or blurry; gradually this could lead to a blank patch in the centre of your vision.
The exact cause for AMD is not yet known, saying this, some scientist believe the following can increase your chances of developing it:
- Age: AMD will normally develop with age and most cases are with people that are 65 or over. Obviously people who are younger can develop it too, but this is rare.
- Gender: As women out-live men, AMD is more popular within this gender.
- Genes: Some genes have been linked to the development of AMD in people. This was discovered by researching into families that had more than one member who suffered with AMD. However all AMD is not recognised as being inherited.
- Smoking: Smoking and AMD have been found to have a link. If you smoke, you are increasing the risk of developing this condition.
- Sunlight: Some research has suggested that being exposed to high levels of sunlight (UV rays), throughout your life increases your chances of developing AMD. Wearing sunglasses can act as a high prevention to this condition.
You Are What You Eat
The better your diet the less chance you have of developing AMT. Much more research is still needed to be conducted within this area. It is believed that vitamins A, C, E and Zinc have helped to slow down the progression of AMD in people who already have the condition.
Although there are some factors that you cannot change, if you watch what you eat, protect your eyes from direct sunlight and don’t smoke, you can hopefully prevent the progression of AMD.
Symptoms can vary from person to person but the tell-tale signs are when individuals can no longer see detail. This can be anything from problems when reading small print or noticing there is a small blurred area in the centre of your vision. Straight lines may appear to be distorted, and you may develop sensitivity when you look at light. Commonly people will notice these changes only in the one eye.
Tell an optician if you notice the following things:
- You have trouble when reading small print with reading glasses on,
- Straight lines start to appear distorted,
- Your vision is no longer as clear as it used to be.
Opticians will be able to measure the changes in your vision and be able to examine the back of your eye. Any changes that are detected to your macula that cause concern they can make an arrangement with an eye consultant from hospital for further tests. I was personally referred to a consultant who specialises in macular degeneration in Cornwall shortly after my optician flagged up concerns regarding my macula.