WHAT IS MACULAR DEGENERATION?
The macula is the central part of the retina in the back of the eye. It is this part of the eye which give you fine central vision for reading and seeing details. Macular Degeneration does not affect the peripheral vision.
There are two forms of age related macular degeneration, wet and dry. These tend to occur in those over the age of 60.
DRY MACULAR DEGENERATION
Dry macular degeneration causes a very gradual loss of central vision over years to decades. In fact many people have dry macular degeneration and are unaware and maintain very good vision throughout their life. Although there is no treatment for dry macular degeneration, there are certain things that can slow its progression; such as maintaining a healthy diet, exercise and avoiding smoking. There are also multivitamins which can slow the progression in some people. You should discuss this with your doctor before starting these.
WET MACULAR DEGENERATION
Wet macular degeneration is caused by abnormal blood vessels growing under the retina. Unlike the slow progression in dry macular degeneration, wet macular degeneration can cause rapid and severe vision loss over weeks to months. Fortunately, this form of macular degeneration can be treated with injections into the eye. Generally, these are given monthly and in the majority of people will improve or maintain the quality of vision.
HOW IS IT DIAGNOSED?
The best way to diagnose macular degeneration is with an eye exam combined with a specialised scan of the back of the eye (OCT scan). If you have macular degeneration you may also use an Amsler grid to monitor your vision at home. If you notice new distortion or any part of the grid is missing, you should seek an urgent review with your eye doctor.
For detailed information, we recommend viewing the Macular Degeneration New Zealand website at and that you book an appointment for any concerns.
Taranaki Eye Centre
17 Weymouth Street
(Cnr Weymouth St & St Aubyn St)
New Plymouth 4310
Our Hawera clinic is located in the
South Taranaki Specialist Clinic at
47 Waihi Road
Phone: (06) 758 3553
Fax: (06) 758 2983
Mon - Fri 8:30am - 5pm