One of the most common conditions affecting the macular area as we age, is age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
One of the most common conditions affecting the macular area as we age, is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD has two types – ‘wet’ and ‘dry’. The wet form of AMD results from bleeding or leakage of fluid from abnormal new blood vessels growing beneath the macular and quickly causes damage to this delicate neural tissue. If not treated early, the damage results in scarring and loss of cone cells and consequently permanent vision loss. Fortunately, we now have an effective treatment to halt injury caused by wet AMD, although the key to achieving good visual outcomes is early diagnosis and treatment. Dry AMD on the other hand, results in a slower loss of central vision, through age related loss of the cone cells and their underlying support cells, called retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). Eating a healthy diet and not smoking help to reduce the rate of visual decline due to dry AMD.
Other common conditions which can affect the macula include diabetes and retinal vein occlusions, which cause leakage of fluid into the retina. Mechanical forces pulling on the surface of the macular, such as through surface scar tissue, known as macular epiretinal membrane or macula pucker; or by the inward pull of the internal gel of the eye (vitreous) on the macula, can produce distortion of central vision or sometimes a central fixed black spot in the case of a full thickness macula hole.
For more information on your macular health, please visit the Macular Disease Foundation (https://www.mdfoundation.com.au) or for low vision resources, visit Vision Australia (https://www.visionaustralia.org).