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What is macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration or age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a condition that causes a loss of central vision when the macular (the part of the retina responsible for crystal clear and detailed central vision) is unable to function as efficiently as it should. Central vision is what we see when we focus straight ahead.

Macular degeneration and the loss of central vision can happen gradually over time but can sometimes be rapid. The sight loss doesn’t affect your peripheral vision (the vision that occurs outside of the direct line of vision) but can affect your ability to read, recognise peoples face and can make colours seem less vibrant. In macular degeneration (AMD) vision becomes increasingly blurred.

Who is affected by macular degeneration (AMD)?
Macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss affecting more than 600,000 people in the UK[1] and is the main cause of blindness amongst the elderly. Age is a major risk factor of AMD and is most likely to affect people after the age of 60.

What are the signs and symptoms of macular degeneration (AMD)?
Macular degeneration (AMD) is not a painful condition but does gradually worsen over time affecting one or both eyes. Signs and symptoms of Macular degeneration can include:

  • Distorted vision
  • Decreasing visual acuity (clarity of vision)
  • Blurred vision
  • A loss of contrast sensitivity

Are there any tests for macular degeneration (AMD)?
The early stages of AMD usually start without any symptoms at all but if you think that your vision is becoming blurred or distorted then you should speak with your GP or ophthalmologist. At City Eyes Ophthalmic Opticians, we regularly carry out in depth eye exams and even a Macula Risk test to diagnose the possibility of loss of vision.

The likelihood of developing macular degeneration grows from 1 in 10 people who are over the age of 60 to more than 1 in 4 people who are over the age of 75.

With the advent of the latest treatment protocols, the loss of vision may be prevented, or even improved in some cases. The earlier macular degeneration is detected and treated, the more likely the chance of preventing blindness.

If you are at all worried about your vision, whether it’s becoming blurred, distorted or colours seem less vibrant then contact us and don’t put off having an eye exam!

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[1] NHS, conditions, macular degeneration