May is Macular Degeneration Awareness Month and The Eye Scene is getting behind this important awareness campaign. Did you know that age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness and severe vision loss in Australians for people who are over 50 years? In fact, 1 in 7 people over 50 will have some signs of AMD.
What is Macular Degeneration?
AMD is caused by a build up of waste at the macula, which is the part of the eye responsible for your central and detailed vision. This results in progressive loss of central vision, leaving the peripheral or side vision intact. While there are no symptoms earlier on, over time, some people experience a gradual worsening of vision. While it does not result in complete blindness, loss of central vision makes it harder for you to do things we take for granted like recognise faces, drive or read. The risk of developing AMD increases with age, smoking and a direct family history of AMD.
There are 2 Forms of AMD
- Dry: gradual loss of retinal cells leading to central vision loss
- Wet: formation of leaking vessels at the macula which can lead to rapid vision loss
Eye Tests are a Must
Early detection is key so regular eye examinations are essential. At The Eye Scene, our optometrists are able to use digital retinal photography to monitor any changes in the macula. Our Optical Coherence Tomographer is able to provide 3-D scans to ensure there are no leaky vessels in deeper layers of the retina.
Prevention and Treatment
Treatment is aimed at slowing down the progression of AMD since there is no way to reverse the effects of AMD. For early to intermediate dry AMD, diet and lifestyle factors play an important role. Studies have shown you can reduce the risk of progression if you stop smoking and exercise regularly. When it comes to your diet, you should limit the intake of fats, eat green leafy vegetables, eat low GI foods and eat fish 2-3 times a week. Also make sure you wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the harsh rays of the sun. Your optometrist may also recommend vitamin supplements for intermediate AMD.
For wet macular degeneration, injections are available to stabilise your vision. Our optometrists will refer you to an expert ophthalmologist who will look after and treat your AMD.
Call The Eye Scene on 9362-9944 to book an eye test and get examined for a range of eye health issues, including macular degeneration.