Sydney Eye Surgeons ophthalmologists have extensive training and expertise in the diagnosis and management of macula degeneration.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye condition that affects a tiny part of the retina called the macula, which is located at the back of your eye. AMD causes problems with your central vision, but does not lead to total loss of sight and is not painful.
AMD affects the vision you use when you are looking directly at something, for example when you are reading, looking at photos or watching television. AMD may make this central vision distorted or blurry and, over a period of time, it may cause a blank patch in the centre of your vision.
You should have your eyes tested if:
There are two main types of AMD – “wet” AMD and “dry” AMD. They are called “wet” and “dry” because of what happens inside your eye and what the ophthalmologist sees when examining the inside of your eye, not because of how your eye feels or whether you have a watery or dry eye.
Dry AMD is the more common type of AMD. It usually develops very slowly and causes a gradual change in your central vision. Dry AMD usually takes a long time, maybe a number of years to get to its final stage. At its worst, dry AMD causes a blank patch in the centre of your vision in both of your eyes. But it doesn’t affect your peripheral vision, so never leads to total blindness.
About 10 –15 per cent of people who develop AMD have wet AMD. You develop wet AMD when the cells of the macula stop working correctly and the body starts growing new blood vessels to fix the problem.
Unfortunately these blood vessels grow in the wrong place and cause swelling and bleeding underneath the macula.
Wet AMD can develop very quickly, making serious changes to your central vision in a short period of time. Treatment is now available for wet AMD, which stops the new blood vessels from growing and damaging your macula. This treatment usually needs to be given quickly before the new blood vessels do too much damage to your macula. If the blood vessels are left to grow, the scarring and the sight loss it causes are usually permanent. Wet AMD doesn’t affect your peripheral vision, so it does not lead to total blindness.
Some people diagnosed with dry AMD find that, with time, new blood vessels grow and they develop wet AMD. If you have dry AMD and your sight suddenly changes you should always have this checked by your ophthalmologist.
The Amsler Grid is a screening test for macular degeneration.
1. Wear your glasses or contact lenses as usual.
2. View the screen so that the grid is at eye level.
3. Cover one eye and focus on the centre dot with the uncovered eye.
If the grid lines are wavy, broken or distorted or there are blurred or missing patches, this MAY be a symptom of macular degeneration.
Early signs of macular degeneration are usually detected during a routine retinal exam. If AMD is suspected, a graph called the Amsler grid is used to evaluate central vision and confirm vision loss. Depending on the findings Further diagnostic tests will be performed to determine the type of AMD and develop an effective treatment plan:
Optical coherence tomography (OCT)
OCT is advanced imaging technology that delivers cross sectional images of the retina at a much higher resolution
Fluorescein angiography exam
Fluorescein angiography involves injecting fluorescent dye into a vein in the arm, after which the dye travels to the blood vessels in the eye and illuminates the retina, thereby allowing high-quality images of the macula.
Treating dry AMD
Treatment of dry AMD involves prevention of progression of disease. Although research is going on to try and find out why the cells of the macula stop working, this has not yet led to a treatment.
Preventing progression of AMD
If you would like an assessment for macular degeneration, please call our rooms or make an online enquiry.