Sligo: 071 914 2965

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Age-related macular degeneration

What is the Macula?

The macula forms part of the retina, which is the layer of nerve cells that lines the inside of the eye. The macula is located at the back of the eye and is made up of many light-sensitive cells which produce our vision and help us to complete detailed tasks such as writing and looking at photographs.

What is age-related macular degeneration?

This condition occurs when the support cells that help the light-sensitive cells at the macula function effectively become less efficient. This leads to a build-up of waste materials at the macula, which can eventually affect central vision.

Types of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Wet Macular Degeneration occurs when leaky new blood vessels develop. This can develop in rapid loss of central vision although peripheral or side vision is not affected.

Dry Macular Degeneration results from slow progressive age change. A person could have the early stages of dry macular degeneration and not notice any problems with their vision. Gradually the central vision may start to deteriorate although this may not occur in both eyes. If a person had dry macular degeneration, they are more likely to go on to develop wet macular degeneration than someone who has no macular degeneration at all.

Who is at risk?

  • People over 65 years of age
  • People who smoke
  • People without a balanced diet
  • People who suffer from obesity

These are only general guidelines so it is important to have regular eye tests.

How often should I have an eye test?

People between the ages of 18 and 70 should normally have an eye test every 2 years.

People over 70 should have an annual eye test. Your optometrist will let you know if you should have an eye test more frequently.

How do I reduce my risk of developing age-related macular degeneration?

  • Do not smoke
  • Protect your eyes from sun exposure by wearing brown tint sunglasses or wide brimmed hat on sunny days
  • Eat at least 5 portions of fruit and dark green vegetables per day
  • Limit eating meat with fat
  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle by taking regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight

If you already have ARMD, here are some useful tips:

  • Wear brown tint sunglasses/wide-brimmed hat on sunny days
  • Ask your bank, gas, electricity suppliers to send large print bills
  • With detailed tasks, have a portable lamp that you can angle directly on to the page
  • If your friends/family write letters to you, ask them to use a large print size if using a PC or a thick black pen if they write by hand
  • Ask your optometrist or ophthalmologist to refer you for a low vision assessment. This means you will be advised about aids that may help you to carry out everyday tasks.
  • Improve your vision with magnifiers and vision aids.

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Tubbercurry: +353 (0)71 918 5540

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Mulreany Opticians