Macular degeneration is a serious and permanent eye disease caused by damage to the nerves in your eye that can result in loss of eyesight in the centre of your field of vision.
It causes blurred vision, blind spots or a loss of vision in the middle of what you would normally see, making it difficult to carry out activities such as driving, reading, recognising faces, judging distances, or seeing reduced colour intensity.
While there is no current cure for macular degeneration, there are a number of ways to reduce your risk or prevent further vision loss.
There are two main types of macular degeneration. Dry macular degeneration is the most common kind. It is caused by the gradual loss of cells in the retina. It develops slowly and causes gradual vision loss.
Wet macular degeneration progresses more rapidly and leads to loss of central vision. It happens when abnormal blood vessels grow under the macular and leak blood and fluid which can lead to permanent scarring inside the eye.
Early detection and diagnosis is vital. It’s important to see your optometrist as soon as you notice any changes to your vision.
While the cause of macular degeneration is not known, it mainly occurs in individuals aged 50 or older, those with close family who have the condition and is more common in people who smoke.
An optometrist will conduct the appropriate eye tests, examining the back of the eyes to make a diagnosis.