Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness and severe visual loss in the western world, and is most often associated with age, as the macula becomes ‘wornout’. However, inherited eye conditions can also result in macular degeneration.
Age-related macular degeneration is rare at the age of 50, but becomes increasingly prevalent between the ages of 65 to 74. Early symptoms include distorted vision, a blurry spot in your central field of vision, and trouble picking up contrast and details.
The primary resource used in the detection and diagnosis of macular degeneration is the Amsler Grid, a simple tool which checks for distortion or visual changes in the retina. Optical Coherent Tomography and Fluorescein Angiography are also utilised. Early detection of these changes greatly enhances the chances of effectively preventing further visual loss.
Once a diagnosis has been made a treatment plan can be created which aims to prevent any further damage to the patient’s vision. Treatment ranges from the injection of drugs in to the eye to Visudynephotodynamic therapy, which can strengthen the blood vessels in the eye and prevent further damage from occurring.