Raising AwarenessIt may seem like a long way off for some of us but Age Related Macular Degeneration affects around 700,000 in the UK.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a condition that affects the central part of the retina, called the macula. It is a leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 50.
There are two types of AMD: dry and wet. Dry AMD is the most common and is characterised by the slow breakdown of light-sensitive cells in the macula. Wet AMD is less common but more severe, and occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina.
As opticians, we play an important role in detecting and managing AMD. We are often the first healthcare professionals to identify the condition during routine eye exams, using a variety of examination methods.
If AMD is detected, we can provide advice and support to our patients. We can recommend lifestyle changes that can slow the progression of the disease, such as quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly. We can also provide information on supplements, such as vitamins and minerals, that may be beneficial for people with AMD.
For people with wet AMD, opticians can refer them to ophthalmologists for treatment. There are several treatments available for wet AMD, including anti-VEGF injections, photodynamic therapy, and laser surgery.
Our job is to help our patients to understand these treatments and provide advice and support throughout the treatment process.
If you are over 50 or have a family history of AMD, it is important to have regular eye exams to detect and manage the condition.