Macula degeneration is a condition which affects the central part of the eye, called the macula. The macula is responsible for the fine detail we can see and it is important to allow us to read, look at people’s faces, watch television or use a computer.
What are the symptoms of macula degeneration?
Patients with macula degeneration notice a loss of detail in their vision or distortion that cannot be corrected by glasses. Advanced forms of macula degeneration can make reading, driving or recognising people’s faces extremely difficult.
How is macula degeneration treated?
There are two main types of macula degeneration, called Wet Macula Degeneration and Dry Macula Degeneration, each with a different treatment. Dry Macula Degeneration is the more common type and is normally slowly progressive. This type is due to a build up of waste products in the macula which slowly damages the vision. People with Dry Macula Degeneration will often be recommended dietary advice or supplements which can help slow down the disease
Wet Macula Degeneration often causes a quite sudden change in the vision and is caused by a fine blood vessel bleeding or leaking into the macula region. We are now fortunate to have medical therapies which markedly improve the chance of patients with wet macula degeneration maintaining and in some cases, improving their vision
How can Macula Degeneration be prevented?
The best ways to prevent macula degeneration are by not smoking, maintaining a healthy level of exercise and eating a diet high in dark green leafy vegetables and fresh fruit as well as eating fish and nuts. Certain vitamin supplements can also be helpful for some patients with the disease and your Ophthalmologist can help you decide whether they are likely to be of benefit to you.
How is macula degeneration monitored?
The macula can be examined at the microscope to look for changes but an OCT scan can allow your Ophthalmologist to see the macula in much finer detail and make a more accurate assessment of the condition.
Retinal Vein Occlusion
The veins of the retina are the blood vessels that drain the blood away from the eye. A retinal vein occlusion is when one of these main veins are blocked, preventing the drainage of blood away from the eye. The result is that the blood entering the retina does not have a way of leaving the eye and so this causes swelling and bleeding within the retina, which decreases the vision.
Patients will often notice a sudden decrease in the vision, or first notice it on waking in the morning. They may also notice distortion of the vision, where objects to not appear straight or square.
How are retinal vein occlusions treated?
Some cases of retinal vein occlusion may resolve without the need for treatment. If this is not likely to happen your Ophthalmologist will suggest one of two treatments:
- Intraocular injection – this is a very common procedure in Ophthalmology where the eye is made numb with local anaesthetic and medication is injected inside the eye. The most common medications used to treat vein occlusions are called Lucentis, Eylea and Avastin. Often multiple injections are required to obtain optimal results.
- Laser treatment – if a vein occlusion is severe, doesn’t respond to intraocular injections or other problems arise, laser treatment can be used to stabilise and improve the vision.
How is retinal vein occlusions monitored?
The retina can be examined at the microscope to look for changes but an OCT scan can allow your Ophthalmologist to see the macula in much finer detail and make a more accurate assessment of the condition.