The macula is an area at the back of the eye that is used for seeing fine details such as reading a book. Macular degeneration covers a number of conditions which affect the macula. As a result peoples’ ability to see fine detail such as recognising faces or to read or watch television is affected. However, this does not normally affect their ability to walk around as their side vision is not affected.
The most common form of macular degeneration is age-related macular degeneration that happens with ageing. Around one in ten people aged 65 or older show signs of macular degeneration.
One of the most common symptoms of macular degeneration is noticing that straight lines appear wavy. However as most people might not notice this if it happens in one eye as the other eye will compensate, it is important to regularly check their vision and have their eyes tested by an Optometrist.
Smoking is known as a major risk factor for developing macular degeneration so giving up smoking can protect eyes from developing macular degeneration. Other risk factors include family history of the condition, obesity, and exposure to ultraviolet light.
It is believed that a diet rich in oil fish and coloured fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration.
Patients that notice any changes to their vision it is important to act quickly. Rapid treatment could save their sight.