NHS Choices named age-related macular degeneration (AMD) as the number one cause of vision loss in the UK. Experts predict that almost 700,000 people will have late stage AMD by 2020. Do you know the signs? Are you at risk? Your London eye clinic wants to help you ensure that you are well informed about the condition so you can take necessary precautions.
What is age-related macular degeneration?
The ‘central vision’ is what allows you to focus your vision so you can see objects clearly. When you vision has the capacity to focus, you can do common daily tasks such as reading, writing, identifying faces, and watching a movie with ease. AMD is a disease that gradually destroys this ability to focus. It attacks the macula, the part of the retina that allows a person to see in full detail. When a person suffers from AMD, he can lose all but his outermost peripheral sight, leaving black holes or opaque images at the vision centre.
Who’s at risk?
The cause of AMD is not completely known. What’s know is that advancing age is its greatest risk factor. NHS estimates that 1 out of 10 in the 65-and-above age bracket suffer from some degree of AMD. The condition also affects women more than men. It also commonly afflicts Caucasian and Chinese people.
How will you know if you have AMD?
The most common symptoms of AMD are blurred vision and objects within the central vision area appearing less bright or duller than usual. Many people with AMD have trouble recognizing faces or reading in natural light, requiring more light to read.
Having an annual eye exam is important to detect AMD at its early stages. Once detected, AMD is categorised as either ‘wet AMD’ or ‘dry AMD.’ Dry AMD is the more common AMD type, in which vision loss occurs gradually. Wet AMD is characterised by scarring and permanent damage to retinal cells.
At its early stages, AMD progression can be slowed down by increasing intake of nutritional supplements such as vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and essential fatty acids. Unfortunately, any vision loss already present cannot be reversed. Nevertheless, your trusted Harley Street eye clinic can supply you with optical and non-optical aids to help you manage daily activities.
Macular degeneration, NHS.uk
Facts About Age-Related Macular Degeneration, NIH.gov