What will happen if I have macular degeneration?
This really does depend on the type and the severity of the macular degeneration. If you are diagnosed with dry macular degeneration then the chances are nothing will be done and the condition will be monitored by your optometrist.
However if you present to your opticians with a sudden profound loss of vision which is distorted, you are almost certain to be referred to an eye casualty immediately. If this has happened you are likely to have wet macular degeneration. Your optician may put drops in your eye to dilate your pupils (black part of your eye) so they can get a better view of the macula. He/she will also use an Amsler chart which is basically a grid pattern which helps identify the distorted part of your vision.
Once you have been referred to the hospital your ophthalmologist will most likely perform a Fluorescein Angiography.
This is a test that helps the surgeon distinguish between the dry and wet forms of the condition, as it shows up any blood vessels that are leaking.
There are no treatments for dry macular degeneration as it really is just natural wear and tear of your eye. In the same way that you cannot treat wrinkles as you get older so you cannot treat the natural ageing process of your macula. It is just a case of managing the condition and the following are the typical strategies:
Providing you seek medical advice promptly you may be able to treat wet macular degeneration with varying results. The 2 main types of treatment are Photodynamic therapy and Anti VEGF treatment:
This can treat wet macular degeneration with varying results and there are no guarantees. A drug (verteporfin) is injected into your arm (similar to what happens in Fluorescein Angiography) and it passes through your body until it reaches the blood vessels in your eye. The drug is attracted to the surface of the new leaky blood vessels and attaches itself to them. The Ophthalmologist will then focus a laser at the new blood vessels which will activate the drug. The activated drug will then destroy the new blood vessels and stop them growing further so reducing the chance of further loss of vision.
Photodynamic therapy is available on the NHS and may require multiple treatments.
The Anti –VEGF is a recent development in treating wet macular degeneration and it is far more likely to be successful if the condition is caught early.
During the treatment a drug is injected into your Vitreous (jelly part in the centre of your eye). This drug acts on the abnormal leaking blood vessels and stops them from growing any further. The drug deactivates a protein that is released as the new vessels are growing. This protein is what stimulates the new vessels to grow. It can in some instances not only stop the advancement of the condition but actually improve the condition and vision.
Anti-VEGF is available on the NHS and requires multiple treatments.
This information is provided purely as a guide and in no way constitutes medical advice. If you are in doubt about the health of your eyes you should consult your doctor or optometrist.
“I saved £300 on my laser eye surgery at Optical Express when I booked through Right Clinic and now I never have to wear glasses again. Thank You!"Gemma Rostron, London
“I was always a little scared of having laser eye surgery but felt reassured after reading the reviews on here. I am now glasses free and am over the moon!"David Flynn, Manchester
"After comparing all the clinics I decided to just go for it! I booked my consultation through Right Clinic and got a better price than if I'd gone direct."Jayne Blake, Cardiff