Safe and effective
Macular degeneration (MD) is a condition which affects the macula, a small area at the centre of the retina which sits at the back of the eye.
The macula is responsible for what we see straight in front of us, allowing us to see fine detail for activities such as reading and writing, as well as our ability to see colour. The condition is most common in people over 65.
Vision can be severely affected if the cells of the macula are damaged and stop working – this is known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Symptoms include blurred vision or distortion, with straight lines appearing wavy and objects appearing to be an unusual size or shape. In more advanced cases, sufferers develop a blank patch or dark spot in the centre of their sight which makes reading, writing and recognising some objects difficult.
There are two types of AMD, dry macular degeneration and wet macular degeneration.
Dry macular degeneration
Dry macular degeneration tends to develop gradually and causes no pain. While no one knows exactly what causes the condition, it has been linked to heredity and environmental factors, like diet and smoking. In some cases, dry macular degeneration can progress into wet macular degeneration.
Wet macular degeneration
Wet macular degeneration is caused by the growth of abnormal blood vessels within the retina, leading to a build-up of fluid, bleeding and scarring. Wet AMD can cause serious visual loss in a much shorter space of time than dry AMD, sometimes within a few months
Treatment for macular degeneration
There are two different types of laser eye surgery. LASIK and LASEK. At your consultation, we’ll be able to let you know which type best suits your eyes.
The most common and effective treatment for wet macular degeneration is known as anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) theory. This is an injection of a drug into the eye that controls the build-up of fluid under the retina. In normal patients, VEGF is a healthy molecule which promotes the growth of blood vessels.
However, when the VEGF works less effectively, new blood vessels in the choroid layer (behind the retina) are weaker and so leak into the retinal layers. The anti-VEGF injections prevent new blood vessels from forming behind the retina, so there are no weak blood vessels to leak and cause the symptoms of wet AMD.
The injections are not a cure for AMD, but they may stop it from getting worse. In some cases treatment for macular degeneration may improve sight, providing treatment is started at an early stage of the condition.
If you’d like to make an appointment to discuss macular degeneration, get in touch with our eyecare experts today.
What to expect
Here is what you can expect when you have laser eye surgery with Laser Vision Scotland, from your initial consultation, to the procedure and aftercare.
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