What’s a macula? Why does it need checking? Who can check it? Why should you even care?
The macula is a small area on the retina, at the back of the eye. In the retinal photograph on the left it is the slightly darker shadow in the middle of the photo.
When the eye is working optimally this area sees the clear, coloured, detailed images that are in the centre of your vision. When you move your eye to look at something – you are putting it at the centre of the macula.
Macular degeneration describes changes that happen to the macula that can be associated with age – words like “drusen”, “wet” and “dry” macular degeneration and “atrophy” are often used to describe these changes. For more details visit here.
In the early stages of macular degeneration, it can be hard for a person to tell that they have these changes at the macula – they tend to happen gradually. If caught early, there are risk factors that can be managed and treatments for the eye, depending on the type of macular degeneration.
An Optometrist or Ophthalmologist can check the macula – if your Optometrist notices any changes, they will refer you to an Ophthalmologist who is trained in diagnosis, management and treatment of the condition.
Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the western world, with 1 in 7 people over the age of 50 affected. Since the macula sees our straight ahead vision, any damage to it can affect the way we lead our lives – from driving a car and playing sport, to reading books and recognising faces. To make an appointment to get your macula checked with an Ophthalmologist at MetWest Eye Centre visit here.
Don’t underestimate blindness – keep your family in the picture!
MetWest Eye Centre is focusing in on the macula all this week, as Macular Degeneration Awareness Week kicks off.
Macular Degeneration primarily affects central vision, and can cause distortion, blurring and missing patches in the central vision. People with moderate-advanced macular degeneration often comment that they find it difficult to recognise faces or read books.
Macular Degeneration Awareness week begins next week – on Sunday 27th May. This years campaign focuses on the importance of discussing MD with your family, with recent research confirming the increased likelihood of a diagnosis of MD if one of your family members has been diagnosed with the disease.
The MD Foundation recommends regular eye-checks as early detection is vital – so if you’re over 50, use the annual Macular Degeneration Awareness Week as a reminder to get your macula checked!
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