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Guide to Age Related Vision Impairment

23rd September 2010
themacula

Age related sight impairment a condition known as macular degeneration or AMD occurs when the cells of the macula become damaged and stop working. Although the condition normally affects people at their 60s, this can occasionally happen at any age, but rarely. In the Western world, it is the most common cause of blindness and in the UK around 500,000 people are thought to be affected by AMD.

The macula is a small area in the retina that contains special cells that are especially sensitive to light. The macula enables people to see fine details clearly and is essential for the healthy workings on the eye. This type of vision impairment leads to central vision lost and does not affect the peripheral vision.

Types of Age Related Vision Impairment:

This condition affects around 20 to 25 million people worldwide, half a million of which are thought to reside in the UK. There are two types of age related macular degeneration. The first type is know as wet macular degeneration and the second type is know as dry macular degeneration which is also the most common type. In 9 out of 10 cases, dry macular degeneration is responsible for age related sight impairment and possible blindness.

What are the Suggested Treatments:

Age related sight impairment will usually occur in both eyes, although one eye may become affected earlier than the other. A regular eye test which is recommended every year to two years for the over 60s will help diagnose the condition, otherwise if you suspect you might be suffering from age related sight impairment you should book an appointment to see your local opticians ASAP. Your optician will likely suggest a few alternative treatments from medicines to laser eye surgery based on your particular circumstances and the type of age related macular degeneration you have.

Common AMD Questions and Answers:

Can AMD be prevented?
Means to reduce the likelihood of macular degeneration vision loss include wearing sunglasses, eating a balanced diet and not smoking.

What are the symptoms of AMD?
The most common symptoms are distortion of your vision, blurry central vision, seeing shapes or colours that aren't there and gradual development of a dark or blank patch in the centre of your vision.

How often should I get my eyes tested?
According to the Practitioner Services (one of 11 divisions within NHS National Services in Scotland), how often you need to get your eyes tested depends on your age and health. If you are 16 to 59 years old then your eyes should be tested every two years, if you are 60 to 69 years old then your eyes should be tested usually every two years and if you are over 70 years old then your eyes should be tested every year. Another factor which should be taken into account is your medical condition. If you are diabetic then your eyes should be tested every year and If you or a member of your family has glaucoma then your eyes should be tested every year.

What should I do if I suspect I have AMD?
Simple. Book an appointment to see your local opticians.

 

Information for this feature was provided by online opticians, Glasses Direct; click on Source link above to be taken to their website.


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