One in Three People Know Someone With Macular Disease
Awareness of macular disease, a condition that affects a person’s vision, is being promoted during Macular Week (25 June – 1 July).
The Macular Society is encouraging people to have regular eye tests so that the condition can be picked up early, even if there are no symptoms.
Macular disease is the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK, and one in three people know someone who has the condition. It usually affects people when they reach their 50s or 60s. Although it doesn’t cause blindness, it can significantly impact vision, and can get worse without treatment.
The condition affects the central part of the retina, called the macular. The exact cause is unknown, but it has been linked to high blood pressure and smoking, and a family history of the condition is also thought to increase the risk.
There are two types of macular disease: dry aged-related macular degeneration (dry AMD) and wet aged-related macular degeneration (wet AMD).
Dry AMD is the most common type. It develops slowly over months or even years. Wet AMD can develop very quickly and can lead to significant changes to vision over just days or weeks.
Both wet and dry AMD only affect central vision, not peripheral vision.
The main sign of AMD is a blurred area or gap in the middle part of a person’s vision. This can make everyday activities very difficult, such as reading, watching TV or even recognising people.
Other symptoms include straight lines appearing wavy, colours appearing less bright and words disappearing when reading.
It is important to catch AMD early. It can be picked up by an eye test even before the person realises they are having any vision problems.
Therefore, the Macular Society and the Royal National Institute of Blind People are encouraging people to have regular eye tests, and to see an eye health professional as soon as possible if they notice any changes to their sight.
If caught early, wet AMD can be treated with drugs that are injected into the eye, or laser treatment. There isn’t any medical treatment for dry AMD, although there are ways to help manage with the condition, for example improving lighting in the home, using magnifiers, wearing glasses with UV filters and reading large print books.
There are studies that suggest the progression of AMD can be slowed down by taking nutritional supplements.
This article was written by a third party source and does not reflect the views or opinions of Ramsay Health Care unless explicitly stated.
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