What's the view on macular degeneration?
Macular Degeneration (MD) is a progressive disorder which means it usually gets worse over time. While there’s no cure – there are some treatments which may help slow it down.
What is it?
The central part of the retina is called the macula. This lets us focus and see details. When it degenerates, it causes serious sight issues. There are actually two different types of MD – wet and dry. Wet causes a sudden loss in central vision, and the dry type causes a more gradual loss in central vision.
Is it common?
Relatively speaking, yes. Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in Australia, and early detection is best. There are some risk factors, including age, family history (with direct family history there is a 50% risk) and smoking.
How do I know I might have it?
Well the very first thing you should do is have your eyes checked regularly by an optometrist. But there are often tell-tale signs even before vision loss such as:
- Blurred or fuzzy vision
- Straight lines appear wavy
- Distorted vision
- Difficulty reading in low light
- Sensitivity to glare
- Seeing spots.
What does vision with macular degeneration look like?
Click and drag the image below to see how macular degeneration can affect your vision.
How is it treated?
For wet macular degeneration, drugs can be gently injected into the eye to help slow or stop the progression of the disease – and in some cases even improve vision. This treatment is usually successful in the early stages. Laser therapies can be used to help slow or stop the progression of MD.
Dry macular degeneration is trickier to treat as there are currently no treatments – although sometimes improving your diet and lifestyle can help. Dry MD can progress into wet MD, so it’s worth getting your eyes tested regularly – every two years if you’re under 65, and every year if you’re over 65.