Although there is no cure for MD, there are treatment options that can slow down its progression, depending on the stage and type of the disease (wet, dry, and other forms). The other earlier the disease is detected, the more vision you are likely to retain.
Macular Degeneration (MD) is the name given to a group of degenerative diseases of the retina that cause progressive, painless loss of central vision, affecting the ability to see fine detail, drive, read and recognise faces.
Both wet and dry forms of MD begin in the Retinal Pigment Epithelium, or RPE, a layer of cells underneath the retina. The RPE is responsible for passing oxygen, sugar and other essentials up to the retina and moving waste products down the blood vessels underneath.
MD occurs when this “garbage collection” breaks down and the waste products from the retina build up underneath the RPE. These deposits, known as ‘drusen,’ are easily seen by your eye care professional as yellow spots.
As MD progresses, vision loss occurs because the RPE cells die or because the RPE cells fails to prevent blood vessels from the choroid from growing into the retina.
In the early stages of MD, when drusen first appear, you may not realise anything is wrong and you may still have normal vision. That is the best time to detect the disease.
The Amsler grid is a tool that optometrists use to detect vision problems resulting from damage to the macula.
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