Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

The macula is a small part of the retina at the back of the eye; it is responsible for our central vision, that is the fine detail of what we see  - allowing us to read, sew, watch television, etc.  When Macular Degeneration appears in later life it is called Age related Macular Degeneration or AMD; it is the most common cause of sight loss in people over 60.  There are two forms of AMD – dry and wet.

Dry AMD is a gradual deterioration of the macula as retinal cells die off and are not renewed; progression may be very slow and take many years.

Wet AMD is caused by abnormal blood vessels growing in the macula, they leak - which leads to scarring and can result in rapid loss of central vision.  This can now be treated by injection if caught quickly. 

People with dry Macular Degeneration should be aware that dry AMD can develop into wet, so it is important to notice if you experience a sudden change in your vision to contact your optometrist or hospital eye specialist urgently. 

People with MD can help themselves by having regular eye tests, protecting their eyes with a wide brimmed hat and good sunglasses, eating a good diet containing green vegetables and fruit, exercising and not smoking. 

Being diagnosed with MD can be distressing and worrying but with information and support people learn to cope well.  You will probably be already getting help from your local team at Warwickshire Vision Support. 

The Macular Society is a charity that also supports anyone affected by central vision loss.  The helpline can put you in touch with a wide range of services - all are free and information is in large print, audio and on line.  Services include counselling, treatment buddies, information leaflets, a telephone befriending service and local support groups.

Support groups meet regularly, providing a varied programme; people who attend find the meetings helpful.  Nearest groups are Leamington Spa, Coventry, Solihull also South Birmingham and Daventry. 

The Macular Society also runs awareness campaigns and raises funds for research, including the stem cell project.

NHS Logo NHS : Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

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