Macular Degeneration (MD) happens when the macula at the back of the eye becomes damaged making it harder to see fine detail such as reading or watching TV. It does not normally affect your ability to walk around as the edge of your vision should remain unaffected.
MD is the leading cause of blindness in the UK. The most common forms of MD happen as you get older.
Smoking is a major risk factor for developing MD as well as family history, obesity and having blue eyes. It happens more in white people and is more common in women.
A diet rich in oily fish, coloured fruit and vegetables can reduce your risk. Exposure to ultraviolet light may be linked to MD so we recommend wearing UV-absorbing glasses when outside for long periods.
Dry AMD is when yellow deposits (drusen) build up behind the macula which may in time affect vision. There is no treatment as yet for dry MD but nutritional supplements can stop it from getting worse in some cases.
Wet MD is when abnormal blood vessels grow behind the macula and leak fluid pushing the macula away from its blood supply at the back of the eye and causing rapid loss of vision. This is often noticed by you with distorted vision; straight lines becoming wavy or you have a blank spot in the centre of your vision.
If you notice these symptoms, see your optometrist immediately.