30 March 2012
AMD, have you heard of it? No it’s not the latest dance act from Europe or a new teen actor, AMD (or age-related macular degeneration) is a serious eye condition that is a leading cause of visual impairment in the UK. According to a study by the College of Optometry, 50% of British adults have never heard of AMD, which considering the prevalence of the condition is concerning.
Age-related macular degeneration is a condition which affects an area of the retina, at the back of the eye, called the macular. As this area degenerates your central vision can become distorted and blurry or even over time cause a blank patch in your vision.
There are commonly two types of AMD – wet and dry. Wet is much less common and develops rapidly, whereas dry AMD develops gradually and can be diagnosed in the early stages. Detecting the early signs of AMD means that treatment and support can be sought and put in place.
Certain things have been said to help minimise your chances of developing the condition. Diet can have an impact on the health of your eyes and eating green veg, oily fish may help to slow down the development of the condition. Smoking also has an impact, doubling your chances of developing AMD.
Regular sight tests are essential in checking the overall health of your eyes and monitoring any potential deterioration. Dr Susan Blakeney, optometric adviser to the College of Optometrists states "I also recommend to patients that they regularly check the vision in each eye separately so that they can spot early changes. It is easy to do and only takes a couple of seconds, yet it could save your sight. You can do it by looking at a bit of graph paper and checking if you see any distortion or blank spots."
If you are concerned about AMD, or want to find out more visit our help and advice pages, or take a look at NHS Choices.
Alternatively, book a free sight test online with one of our qualified optometrists.