Macular Degeneration

Mucular Degeneration photo from Optique, opticians in Battersea, LondonAge Related Macular degeneration (ARMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the UK.

The macula is an area at the back of your eye that you use for seeing fine details such as reading a book. Macular degeneration (MD) covers a number of conditions which affect the macula. The condition affect your ability to do certain tasks such as reading and watching television, but does not affect your ability to walk around as your side vision is not affected.

One of the most common symptoms of MD is noticing that straight lines appear wavy or there are patches missing from your vision. You may not notice this if it happens in one eye as your other eye will compensate, so it is important to regularly check your vision in each eye separately. You can do this by looking with each eye separately at the straight lines on a door frame or Venetian blind. If you notice the lines are distorted or there are missing patches, you should see your optometrist straight away.

Macular Degeneration diagram from Optique, opticians in Battersea, LondonThe most common forms of MD happen more as you get older and are known as age-related MD (ARMD). Around one in 10 people aged 65 or older show some signs of MD.

ARMD can be ‘wet’ or ‘dry’:

Dry MD is much more common than wet MD and is when yellow deposits, known as drusen, build up behind the macula. This may, in time, affect your vision, though this normally happens slowly.

Wet MD happens when abnormal blood vessels begin to grow behind the macula and leak fluid. This pushes the macula away from its blood supply at the back of the eye and causes a rapid loss of vision. It is usually associated with you noticing distorted vision (straight lines become wavy, or you have a blank spot in the centre of your vision). You can check for distortions by looking at a grid of squares printed on paper, called an Amsler chart. Your optometrist will be able to advise you on this. It is important to do this with each eye separately and while wearing your glasses, if you need them.

If you notice these symptoms, you need to see your optometrist straight away.

For help and advice on Macular Degeneration, visit Optique, opticians in Battersea, London at 276 Battersea Park Road, Battersea, London, SW11 3BS. Tel: 020 72282754

The information on this site is for Educational Purposes Only and is not designed to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any health conditions.