AGE RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION
Age Related Macular Degeneration
What is the macula?
The macula is the centre part of the retina on the inside of the back of the eye. We use our macula to see fine details and distinguish colours. If the macula becomes damaged it becomes difficult to read, see faces and observe signs.
What is AMD?
Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is a chronic and progressive retinal disease that causes loss to the central vision of the eye. AMD is a leading cause of legal blindness and severe vision loss in Australia.
In the early stages, patients may not know they have the disease, but in later stages it causes loss of central vision and in some patients, blindness.
How common is AMD?
The prevalence of early stage macular degeneration in patients 50 years and older was estimated to be 14.8% in non-indigenous Australians, and 15.6% of indigenous Australians between 50-59 according to The Australian National Eye Health Survey 2017. As the name implies, the risk of AMD is greater with age.
Will I go completely blind?
No. Macula degeneration will affect the central vision of the eye but not the peripheral (or side) vision. In advanced macular degeneration the central vision can be quite profoundly affected but these patients will still retain their peripheral vision.
Is there treatment available?
There are 2 types of macular degeneration, “dry” and “wet”. Unfortunately, there is no treatment in the form of medication for dry macular degeneration.
In “wet” macular degeneration treatment is administered in the form of intravitreal eye injection. The medication that is injected into the eye helps stop the abnormal blood vessels that are present in wet AMD from bleeding and scarring the macula. The treatment is aimed at stabilizing the vision but won’t cure wet AMD.
Can I take supplements?
Possibly. There are vitamin and antioxidant supplements that can help slow down the progression of AMD in some patients. The evidence suggests there are subgroups of AMD that these tablets work best in. Specialist eye can provide information on whether supplements are suitable for your eyes. The supplements contain Zinc (as zinc oxide) 80mg, Vitamin C 500mg, Vitamin E 400IU, Copper (as cupric oxide) 2mg, Lutein 10mg, Zeaxanthin 2mg.
Are there any surgical options?
There is no surgery to treat or cure AMD. However, a new magnifying lens implant (SML) is suitable for select cases to help improve near vision and quality of life. The lens is surgically placed into the eye by Dr Rudkin. The lens does not alter the distance vision at all but will provide about 2.2x magnification for near vision tasks at a close working distance. This treatment is not suitable for all cases of AMD but can work well for some patients. Dr Adam Rudkin and our optometrist, John Wysling, can provide advice and detailed examination for patients who are interested. This lens is only suitable for dry macula degeneration patients that meet a certain criterion.
Where can I get further help?
We can provide a referral to Royal Society for the Blind Adelaide who have optometrists that specialise in low vision management.
Visit Royal Society for the Blind Adelaide at www.rsb.org.au
Another useful website is: www.mdfoundation.com.au/content/what-is-macular-degeneration
PHONE: 08 7070 2502
FAX: 08 8125 3880
POST: Specialist Eye, Glenelg Community Hospital,
5 Farrell St, Glenelg South SA 5045
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PHONE: 08 7070 2502
FAX: 08 8125 3880
EMAIL: [email protected]