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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.
Vision can be severely affected if the cells of the macula are damaged and stop working. 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 Macular Degeneration (MD), dry MD and wet MD. Dry MD tends to develop more slowly over time, while the wet form of the condition can cause rapid severe sight loss.
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. Unfortunately, there is still no treatment for dry MD although we would recommend regular check up to monitor progress.
Wet macular degeneration
Treatment for macular degeneration
Treatment for wet MD
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 MD.
Unfortunately though, damage to the macula can not be reversed. It is a common cause of permanent and severe sight loss in the UK.