Macular Degeneration

Have a family history of Macular Degeneration?

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Macular Degeneration Detection Toowoomba Roma Emerald

Macular Degeneration (MD) is the leading cause of blindness in Australia today. Macular Degeneration causes damage to the retinal cells in the Macula in the back of the eye. The Macula is a critical part of your retina, it is responsible for detailed central vision.

How does Macular Degeneration affect vision?

Macular Degeneration begins with minor blurring of vision which cannot be corrected with spectacles. This blurring worsens and may be accompanied by distortion, color vision problems and finally dark and dull central vision.

Peripheral vision is not affected. If both eyes are affected then central vision becomes difficult. Reading, watching television, driving, face recognition, and seeing your watch or phone all become more difficult with Macular Degeneration. Because the side vision is not damaged, people with Macular Degeneration can usually take care of themselves.

What causes Macular Degeneration?

A number of factors are thought to contribute to MD.

  • Family history
  • High exposure to light (working outdoors)
  • Poor circulation
  • Inadequate absorption of some vitamins and minerals
  • Smoking
  • Diet
  • Age

Is all Macular degeneration the same? 

Put simply there are two basic types of Macular Degeneration, dry Macular Degeneration and wet Macular Degeneration.

Dry Macular Degeneration is a more common, slower progressing disease. It is recognized by yellow deposits (drusen) at the macula. These drusen can be easily seen on retinal photographs. Over time the drusen become larger and more numerous. This interferes with the normal circulation and damages the retinal tissue. These are retinal photographs and OCT scans of Dry Macular Degeneration at various stages.

Wet Macular Degeneration

Only 10 per cent of people with Macular Degeneration develop wet Macular Degeneration. These eyes often have pre-existing Dry Macular Degeneration. Wet Macular Degeneration is suspected when the retina becomes swollen. This swelling can be easily found with an OCT scan. There are a number of other conditions that cause swelling, the OCT is excellent for differentiating between them.

This swelling or Oedema is caused by new vessels behind the retina. These new vessels leak, causing swelling (oedema). This swelling leads quickly to scarring and severe vision loss. If not treated quickly, permanent severe loss of vision is inevitable.

What are the risk factors?

  • Smoking
  • Aged over 50 years
  • A family history of Macular Degeneration
  • Blurred or distorted vision
  • Hypertension or cardiovascular disease

How is Macular Degeneration detected?

 The optometrist will use a range of instruments to assess the condition of your macula and the tissue behind it. 

Early detection of Macular Degeneration can play a vital part in preventing further loss of vision. Please contact us to book in an appointment with one of our Optometrists. 

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