Macular Degeneration

{flickr|100|campaign} Macular degeneration is a condition when the delicate cells of the macula, a small area of the retina at the back of the eye, become damaged and stop working. This leads to loss of detailed central vision, while peripheral vision is unaffected. The condition tends to be common in older people when it is known as Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and although not painful is the most common cause of poor sight in people over 60. It is estimated by the Macular Disease Society that over half a million people are affected by AMD in the UK and this figure is set to rise significantly as people live longer.

There are two types of AMD usually referred to wet and dry. Dry AMD is the most common form of the condition, which develops very slowly causing gradual loss of central vision. There is no medical treatment for this type of AMD however magnifiers and good lighting can prove very helpful with reading and detailed tasks.

Wet AMD is what the ophthalmologist can see when examining the macula and describes the condition where new blood vessels grow behind the retina, causing bleeding and scarring which can lead to loss of sight. Wet AMD can develop quickly and accounts for some 10% of all people with AMD. It can be treated with photodynamic therapy PDT and injections into the eye.

Mrs S, 79, has been attending Moorfields Private for many years in order to treat the macular degeneration which now affects both her eyes. She explains: I realised I had macular degeneration in my first eye and was told that it would be some three to five years before my second eye became affected. That was more or less the case. I initially went to Moorfields Private when I lost detailed sight in my first eye and I must say they have done what is best for my eyes.

Mrs S continues: I do believe that ones eyesight reflects ones general health so I do take care to follow the diet guidelines provided by Moorfields Private, eating a diet rich in antioxidants and zinc which are good for the retina. I do think a good diet goes a long way and I also take steps to protect my eyes from the sun.

Mrs S suffered from wet AMD in one eye and this has been halted by her consultant, so that now her eye is now dry. She hopes the condition will progress more slowly: Ive had some five to eight injections now and as its always been beautifully done, Im not nervous and dont feel pain.

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