Dry AMD is caused by the gradual break down of light-sensitive cells in the macula over several years. Wet AMD is caused by the growth of blood vessels underneath the macula, which can leak or cause scarring.
The macula is a 5mm part of the retina at the back of the eye. It is responsible for all of our central vision, most of our colour vision and the fine detail/ clarity of what we see. It contains a high concentration of photoreceptor cells that detect light and send signals to the brain, these then interprets them as images. The rest of the retina processes our peripheral (side) vision. Macular disease causes loss of central vision. It is not known why this is, but it tends to happen as people get older.
As it's an age-related process, it usually involves both eyes, although they may not be affected at the same time.
Your optometrist will be able to advise on adjustments you can make to your lifestyle to lower your risk of macular degeneration, such as nutritional supplements to slow the progression of the condition.
Our optician, Phillippa will monitor your vision and eye health with regular eye tests to detect any changes, as dry macular degeneration can develop into the wet type - which then can be treated.
If there are signs of wet macular degeneration, your optometrist will refer you to the hospital for prompt treatment.