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Around 600,000 people in the UK currently suffer from AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration). Yet a report by the College of Optometrists revealed that more than half the adults in the UK had never heard of the disease.
James and Michelle Sutton of Butterflies Healthcare expressed concerns about this saying,
“AMD, as the name suggests, is something that affects older people. It’s been proven that things like poor diet and smoking increases the risk over the years. It’s not like catching a cold and awareness must be raised. People’s lifestyles today can affect their sight tomorrow. It’s a growing problem and one that can’t be tackled if people don’t know about it.”
The ‘macula’ is a small part of the eye near the centre of the retina. It is the part of the eye that lets us see things that are directly in front of us. Over the years, the macula ‘degenerates’ or deteriorates. It is a condition that affects older people, hence the term ‘age-related macular degeneration’ or AMD.
Essentially, there are two types of AMD – dry and wet. AMD results in the loss of central vision, i.e. instead of seeing what’s directly in front of you, you will see a fuzzy dark circle. You will retain your peripheral vision as illustrated in the photograph.
AMD isn’t painful. It doesn’t cause headaches or pain in the eyes. You might not realise you have it until you notice a change in your vision. You might find it hard to read print or see the finer details of things you’re looking at.
Dry AMD is the most common and less serious of the two types of age-related macular degeneration. It’s caused by a build-up of lipids (fatty proteins) which form something called ‘drusen’ in the cells of the macula.
This results in a gradual loss of central vision. However about 10% of people with dry AMD go on to develop wet AMD.
Wet AMD is caused by blood vessels forming under the macula. The blood cells leak discharging fluids into the eye which scar and damage the cells of the macula. The onset of wet AMD can be fast, and without treatment, the patient’s vision can deteriorate very quickly.
AMD is often diagnosed during an eye examination. Everyone should have two yearly eye tests and this is even more important for older people.
If you are experiencing any changes in your vision, you should make an appointment to see your GP or your optometrist to have it investigated immediately.
Everyone over the age of 50 is at risk of developing AMD. However, maintaining a healthy lifestyle will reduce the risk:
Feature writer Joy McCarthy
This featured article is editorial sponsored by Butterflies eyecare
Tel: 0330 660 0481
For many older people, the diagnosis of AMD is devastating. Living with AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration)
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