AMD

Is a disease that may get worse over time. It happens when the central part of your retina called the macula loses cells and becomes thin. The central vision is affected with two types of AMD – wet and dry.

Risk factors

The older you get, the greater the risk. Most at risk are those over 60 years.

Your risks are increased significantly if you’re a smoker or have been regularly exposed to smoke.

Obesity may increase your chances that early macular changes will progress.

If you have had a disease that affects your heart or blood vessels, then you may be at higher risk of macular degeneration.

Symptoms

  • Visual distortions such as bending straight lines
  • Reduced vision in one or both eyes
  • The need for brighter lights for close up activities
  • Colours appear less intense
  • Difficulty recognising faces
  • A well-defined blurring or blind spot in your field of vision

Treatment

Dry AMD progresses slowly and currently there are no treatments available. However you can slow the progression by eating healthy, stopping smoking (if you smoke), taking vitamin supplements (especially those recommended by the ophthalmologist or optometrist), wearing sunglasses and protecting your eyes from UV light.

Age-related macular degeneration doesn’t affect your peripheral vision and usually doesn’t cause total blindness. It can reduce your central vision, essential for driving and reading – so it may help to see someone who can help you to find ways to adapt to your changing vision.

For some individuals with advanced dry macular degeneration in both eyes, a telescopic lens implant in one eye may be introduced. The implant will magnify your field of vision, and although the improvement is a narrow improvement it can help for example in seeing street signs.

There are a number of possible treatments for wet macular degeneration and they include anti-angiogenic medications. They stop new blood vessels from forming and leaking from the abnormal vessels. Some have been able to regain the vision they have lost but you are likely to need further treatments to slow or stop the progress of this condition.

Laser therapy is sometimes used to destroy actively growing abnormal vessels.

Photodynamic laser therapy is a two-step approach that uses a light sensitive drug to damage the abnormal vessels, which is activated by a laser being shone into they eye.

Our Eye Examinations

The standard examination will consider your history. Ophthalmoscopy will view your macular to see if there are signs of AMD on the surface of your retina. The visual acuity test chart will measure your vision and if we have records of previous results, we can compare and measure any possible changes. Amsler grid will also be used to measure your symptoms.

We use advanced techniques for early detection of potential disease by scanning deeper layers of the retina and measuring drusen levels – another sign of early macular degeneration. This service is available for those who choose to have the advanced eye examination or, for those on the gold package. we will conduct scans of your macular which look beneath the surface for early signs of the disease and can measure your drusen levels. Using these advanced techniques for early detection means potentially an earlier referral and earlier treatment and prevention measures undertaken.