The macula is the central part of the retina which is highly adapted for reading and seeing fine detail. As such, it is subject to degenerative changes.
Risk factors include older age, race (Caucasians are more susceptible), family history, farsightedness, light-coloured eyes, cardiovascular disease, smoking and hypertension.
Dry macular degeneration is rather like a carpet wearing out, with holes developing in the macula. At this stage there is no treatment available.
In wet macular degeneration, abnormal blood vessels can grow under the macula. These may bleed suddenly, causing a rapid reduction in vision. In this situation, treatment can be helpful in certain circumstances in the form of injections into the eye. Sometimes only one or 2 injections are needed; other times these will need to be repeated at intervals of one up to several months.
Sometimes there are changes in the macula which precede the development of macular degeneration, and we may be able to tell you (after examining your eyes) whether you are at high risk of this happening and strategies may be implemented to prevent this.
It is important to eat a good diet which includes fruit, vegetables (including green leafy vegetables) and fish. Dietary supplements have only been shown to be helpful in a select group of patients. We will be able to tell you if you fall into this category. Dietary supplements are not helpful in all patients, and can be harmful if used without medical supervision.
Please do not make changes to your diet or medications prescribed by other doctors and other specialists on the basis of media reports: to do so may put your general health at risk. You are strongly encouraged to discuss any of your concerns or questions with us.