Macula degeneration is currently the leading cause of blindness in Australia
What is macula degeneration?
Macula degeneration is a group of diseases that causes painless, progressive loss of central vision. It occurs when there is an accumulation of waste at the macula produced by the retina. The macula is the very centre of the retina and is responsible for your central, detailed vision. In fact, you are using your macula right now to read this!
Risk factors for Macula degeneration
What is my vision like when I have macula degeneration?
Vision loss can be depend on different types of macula degeneration.
General things you may notice are:
- Distortions/waviness of straight lines
- Dark patches in the centre of your vision
- Facial features can become hard to distinguish
- Reading or activities which require fine vision can become more difficult
What can be done about macula degeneration?
Unfortunately there is no cure for macular degeneration.
If it is discovered early, appropriate lifestyle adjustments can be made which can help to slow down the progression of the disease. These include: Wearing sunglasses with UV protection, vitamin supplements and eating a diet full of dark, leafy green vegetables.
Medical treatment in the form of laser and/or injections can be given for a certain type of macula degeneration (known as wet macula degeneration). However, this only stabilises and maintains the best vision for as long as possible, it does not cure the disease.
An Amsler chart is an important tool to monitor changes in your vision. This chart looks like an even grid with a dot in the middle. You may have been given one of these by your optometrist! All the lines in the grid should be straight, none of the lines should be missing or distorted. If they are, make sure you see an optometrist immediately!
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