Macular Degeneration

By: Joe Swails

What is macular degeneration?
Macular degeneration is an eye condition which affects your central vision. It affects your ability to see what is directly in front of you – making images and objects seem blurred when you are reading, writing or driving.

There are two types of macular degeneration: Dry (which develops gradually) and Wet (which is more accelerated and requires immediate treatment, but only affects about 10 per cent of sufferers overall).

If you develop macular degeneration, at first your vision will seem distorted and patchy, and you will begin to notice how straight lines appear curved or tilted. Many sufferers say they initially started to notice a problem with reading, and then their vision gradually deteriorated from there until (in severe cases), their central vision was completely lost.

In the retina there is a tiny area in the middle called the macular. Its role is to help you to discern fine detail of objects and images in front of you. As you get older, waste materials build up inside the macular. When the mechanisms for cleaning up this waste within the eye weaken, the cells in the macular become damaged and this gradually erodes your central vision.

Vision tests are used to diagnose the condition, as well as an examination of the retina with an ophthalmoscope.

Sometimes, the blood vessels at the back of the eye are photographed during a procedure called a fluorescein angiography. Here, checks are made to see if the vessels are abnormal, and therefore macular degeneration has developed.

Effect on your life
As macular degeneration sets in slowly over five to ten years, you will retain some of your eyesight, but your vision will slowly deteriorate. You will lose the ability to see things right in front of you, but you will still be able to see things around your vision’s edge. For most people, this is usually enough to help them to get around and generally look after themselves.

For dry macular degeneration there are no treatments available to help combat the disease (although taking antioxidant vitamins plus zinc supplements may reduce the risk of vision loss). Also, to help you to cope with your condition you can use things like magnifiers, ‘read out’ text computer software, and intensive lighting.

For wet macular degeneration, laser surgery is sometimes used to stem leaking choroidal blood vessels at the back of the eye – to try to prevent further loss of vision.

How Chemist Online can help
Through this website, we have available to buy a range of products which can help preserve eye health. These include Bausch & Lomb PreserVision Tablets (an eye vitamin and mineral food supplement) and Bausch & Lomb PreserVision Lutein Softgels (new and easy-to-swallow soft gels).

Advice & Support
Macular Disease Society
Tel: 01264 350551
E-mail: [email protected]

Royal National Institute of the Blind
Tel: 0303 123 9999
E-mail: [email protected]

This information and advice is not intended to replace the advice of your GP or chemist. Chemist Online is also not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based upon the content of the Chemist Online website. Chemist Online is also not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised on any of the sites.

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