Macular Degeneration

What is Macular Degeneration (MD)?

The macula is the central part of the retina, the light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. The retina processes all visual images. It is responsible for your ability to read, drive and see colours clearly. You are reading this using your macula. MD causes progressive macular damage resulting in loss of central vision but the peripheral vision is not affected. How common is MD?

MD is the leading cause of blindness and severe vision loss in Australia. 1 in 7 people over the age of 50 years is affected in some way. Eye health checklist:

  • Have your eyes tested regularly and make sure the macula is checked.

  • Keep a healthy lifestyle, control your weight and exercise regularly.

  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Include fish, dark green leafy vegetables and fresh fruit daily in your diet. Choose low glycemic index carbohydrates. Limit your intake of fats.

  • Provide adequate protection for your eyes from sunlight exposure, especially when young. Wear sunglasses all year round.

What treatments are available for MD?

Treatment options depend on the stage and type of the disease. Current treatments aim to keep the best vision for as long as possible and in some cases may potentially provide visual improvement, but there is presently no cure. Prevention and early detection is vital in saving sight. Note: This extract is taken from the MD Foundation’s brochure and it is intended as a guide only. Its content does not constitute medical advice and should not be referred to as such.

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