Age Related Macular degeneration
In the UK over 600000 people suffer from Macular degeneration. It is the leading cause of visual loss in the developed world.
There are many forms of macular disease, including age-related macular degeneration or AMD. This usually affects people over 60 but can happen earlier. About half are registered as visually impaired.
The older we are the greater our risk of developing the condition. Around one in every 200 people has AMD at 60. However by the age of 90 it affects one person in five. We are all living longer so the number of people affected is increasing.
There are two forms of AMD – dry and wet. Dry AMD is a gradual deterioration of the macula as the retinal cells die off and are not renewed. The term dry does not mean the person has dry eyes, just that the condition is not wet AMD. There is currently no treatment for dry AMD. The progression of dry AMD varies but in most people it develops over many months or years. Often people carry on as normal for some time.
Wet macular degeneration develops when abnormal blood vessels grow into the macula. These leak blood or fluid which leads to scarring of the macula and rapid loss of central vision. Wet AMD can develop very suddenly. It can now be treated if caught quickly.