Age-related macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of sight loss for over-50s. There are two types: dry and wet.
What are the symptoms of age-related macular degeneration?
Macular degeneration isn’t painful. You may not even notice you have the condition until you experience a loss of vision. AMD affects activities requiring detail, such as reading and writing.
The more common of the two conditions, dry AMD affects your ability to see fine detail. You may find it difficult to read, use your computer, watch the television, drive, etc. Some people may not realise the change in vision, as it happens so slowly
Wet AMD involves a sudden and sometimes dramatic decline in your central vision, usually in one eye. Typically, wet AMD develops in people who have already had dry AMD. It is very important that anyone who has unusual symptoms (such as straight lines appearing to be wavy or blurring of the central vision) contacts an optometrist as soon as possible.
As it’s an age-related process, it usually involves both eyes, although they may not be affected at the same time.
How is macular degeneration diagnosed?
If your optometrist thinks that you have wet AMD, they’ll refer you to a specialist or hospital for treatment.
How can macular degeneration be treated?
Treatment will depend on the type of macular degeneration you have.
There is currently no treatment available for dry AMD, but the wet type can sometimes be helped, if it is detected early.
If there are signs of wet macular degeneration, your optometrist will refer you to the hospital for prompt treatment, which can involve injections and sometimes light therapy.