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Concerned about macular degeneration?

 

Macular Degeneration

 

What is the macular?

 

It is the area at the back of the eye that is responsible for our detailed vision. It contains millions of cells and requires a large amount of nutrients to function plus a system to break up and dispose of the waste products.

 

 

What is Macular Degeneration?

 

When these cells cease to function, slowly but surely we lose our detailed vision. It has a variety of causes but when associated with age it is referred to as age related macular degeneration or AMD as people often call it.

 

Types

  • Dry most common type, gradual onset.
  • Wet new vessels grow behind the retina causing bleeding and scar tissue, develops quickly and accounts for 10% of all AMD.

It usually involves both eyes but not equally, so often people will have one good eye. Using the eyes will not increase the risk of damage so if you enjoy hobbies such as reading or knitting carry on.
It rarely causes total blindness but it is the greatest cause of poor sight in the over 60's.

 

Risk Factors

  • Age - Those of us over 50 are more at risk.
  • Sex women are more at risk probably because they live longer!
  • Family History - If it is in the family there is a 50% chance of developing it as opposed to 12% if there is no family history.
  • Smoking doubles your chance of developing AMD.
  • Sunlight - UV significantly increases the risk so wear sunglasses.
  • Nutrition evidence suggests that a well balanced diet or taking supplements can help delay the onset of AMD.

Symptoms

 

Blurred vision, distortion, straight lines appear wavy; often patterns or shapes can be seen that are not really there. Reading becomes more difficult.

 

What to do if concerned

 

Contact us and we will check your vision, measure your macula pigment and if necessary dilate the pupils. Depending on the findings we will either refer you to the eye casualty if it is wet AMD and it meets the criteria for treatment ie recent drop in vision and the presence of bleeding. If is it dry then we will try to improve the vision through spectacles, magnifiers and give advice on diet and taking supplements.

 

Treatments

 

Dry AMD

With our new MPod we can now measure the macula pigment. Evidence is starting to suggest that by taking Macushield it increases the macula pigment and helps slow down or reverse the effects of AMD.

We usually recommend taking supplements for 3 months and repeating the MPod measurement and we if can show an increase in pigment we then continue with supplements.

Diet can also help. Improve intake of Vit A,C,E minerals Zinc and Selenium plus enzymes Lutein and Zeathanthin.

 

Eg. Oily fish, dark green veg, red and yellow peppers, apricots Cut out smoking.

 

Wet AMD

Involves referral to eye casualty for flourescein angiography and photgraphs. This will give better assessment of condition. Treatment involves injections into the eye to seal the leaking vessels.

 

More information

RNIB

Macular Disease Society