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In focus: Macular degeneration
What you need to know...

There are many forms of macular disease, but age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common.

AMD usually affects people over the age of 50 and is the leading cause of blindness amongst industrialised countries.

The two main types of AMD “wet” and “dry” are named according to what happens inside your eye and what an ophthalmologist sees when examining the inside of your eye… Not because of whether your eye is watery or dry!

Both wet and dry AMD affect your central vision and can cause blurry vision or dark spots everywhere you look.

While AMD causes the centre of your vision to appear distorted, it’s important to remember that sight isn’t fully lost as AMD doesn’t affect your peripheral vision.

Peripheral vision is key to being aware of your surroundings, enabling you to safely navigate through daily life.

The opposite is true for individuals living with glaucoma who have tunnel vision which subsequently leads to an increased risk of falls through the challenge of navigating the world around them.

Although we rely on peripheral vision to assist with mobility, as a species we have a weak peripheral range.

But it is possible to expand your field of vision through training the eye to increase your awareness of objects to the left and right of your central gaze.

Reading is an essential skill and a wider peripheral vision can facilitate the ability to read once central vision and focus are lost.  

Whilst vision cannot be restored, along with the benefit of improved lighting and low visions aids such as magnifiers and anti-glare shields, an increased peripheral capability can enable a person living with AMD to see better and live better.

With technological advancements and an enhanced understanding of the human body, it’s possible to enjoy spending time with your loved ones and doing hobbies just as you always have.

It’s important to have a regular sight test to identify AMD as early as possible and to monitor any progression for those living with the condition.

To read more about other age-related eye conditions to look out for, click here.