With close to 1.5 million people in the UK suffering with Macular Degeneration*, it is important to know the symptoms. Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is most common among people in their 50’s and 60’s. Although it does not lead to complete blindness, it can make daily activities difficult, such as reading and recognising faces. 

At the moment there has not been an exact cause identified. However, it has been linked to smoking, obesity, high blood pressure and family history of AMD.

Symptoms

If you think you might have Age-Related Macular Degeneration, see how many of the following symptoms you are experiencing:

  • An area of your vision is distorted or blurred
  • Difficulty seeing anything in the centre of your vision
  • Objects seem smaller than usual
  • Colours are not as bright as before
  • Straight lines appear wavy or crooked
  • Hallucinations

There are no symptoms which effect the appearance of your eyes or cause pain if you have Age-Related Macular Degeneration. However, if you do have any of the above symptoms, please contact your optician.

Diagnosis

During your optician’s appointment, the optometrist will look into the back of your eyes to check your vision. This will be completed using a magnifying glass and a light. 

Sometimes they may also give you eye drops to make it easier to identify issues. This can cause temporary blurred vision, so we advise you not to drive until you can see clearly again. This usually takes between 4 – 6 hours to clear.

If you require urgent treatment, you may be referred to an ophthalmologist or AMD specialist service. This may require further examinations, including scans. A specialist will then discuss your treatment options, what it all means and answer any questions you have.

Types of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

If you have Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration, treatments include frequent eye injections or sometimes Photodynamic Therapy. These treatments prevent your eye vision from worsening.

With Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration, unfortunately there are no treatments. However, you can have vision aids to make daily life easier.

Treatment Options

You could require regular eye injections every 1 or 2 months, with Anti-VEGF medicines – ranibizumab (Lucentis) and aflibercept (Eylea). This treatment has been known to prevent the vision from worsening in 90 per cent of cases, with 30 per cent of people saying it improved their vision.

If you are to receive light treatment, this will involve shining a light to the back of your eyes. This aims to remove abnormal blood vessels causing the problem. Typically, you will need Photodynamic Therapy every few months, often in addition to eye injections if they are not effective enough alone.

Booking an Optician Appointment

At Dominic Tunnell Opticians we specialise in eye examinations. We offer our patients a bespoke service, to provide the highest level of eye care to suit your personal lifestyle. If you have concerns about your eye vision and perhaps think it could be linked to Age-Related Macular Degeneration please book an appointment. Our friendly team are available Monday to Saturday on 01905 950222.

*Nearly 1.5m people in the UK are affected by macular disease, Macular Society, 10th October 2018, https://www.macularsociety.org/news/nearly-15m-people-uk-are-affected-macular-disease