Macular degeneration (also known as AMRD or AMD) is an eye disease and is the most common cause of central vision loss in elderly patients. Around 7,000 new cases of AMD are diagnosed in Ireland each year. The macula is a special part of the retina in the back of the eye. In AMD the macula becomes damaged. There is a blurring or loss of central vision making it hard for sufferers to drive, read, or even recognise faces. Peripheral vision is not affected. AMD usually affects both eyes. Risk factors for AMD include-
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Fat intake
- Genetic factors
There are two types of AMD – wet and dry. Dry AMD is the most common form (85 to 90% of cases). In dry AMD the macula contains sticky deposits known as drusen.
Wet AMD is less common and all people with wet AMD will originally have had dry AMD. In wet AMD their condition has deteriorated and there is a growth in abnormal weak blood vessels in the area. These can leak blood and protein leading to vision loss. Wet AMD can be treated with lasers and medicines.
The main way of preventing AMD is to target the risk factors. Age cannot be changed so you have to focus on the other ones. Don’t smoke. If you do, the risk of AMD is another reason for you to quit. At Fortune’s Pharmacy we can give you plenty of help to kick the habit through our Stop Smoking Service. Increase your intake of green leafy vegetables and learn how to look after your cholesterol and blood pressure.
Taking supplements containing Lutein and Zeaxanthin can help to slow the progression of AMD. Macushield is our most popular product in the range and is available to purchase from our online store.
If you have experienced any vision loss or are concerned about your eyes for any reason, please see your GP without delay.
The HSE no longer pays for products such as Macushield under its Hardship Scheme.