• The Ageing Retina – An Introduction to Macular Degeneration

    4th February, 2014

  • Macular Degeneration affects the central vision.

    People with Macular Degeneration Don’t GO COMPLETY BLIND the side vision normally remains.



    Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) usually affects older adults and results in a loss of vision in the centre of the visual field because of damage to the retina It occurs in “dry” and “wet” forms.

    Macular degeneration can make it difficult or impossible to read or recognize faces, although enough peripheral vision remains to allow other activities of daily life.

    A similar condition affecting younger individuals is called Stargardt’s disease.

    Dry AMD

    Central geographic atrophy, the “dry” form of advanced AMD, results from atrophy of the retinal pigment epithelial layer below the retina, which causes vision loss through loss of photoreceptors (rods and cones) in the central part of the eye. No medical or surgical treatment is available for this condition; however, vitamin supplements with high doses of antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, have been suggested by the National Eye Institute and others to slow the progression of dry macular degeneration.


    Visual acuity drastically decreased

    Blurred vision: Those with non-exudative macular degeneration may be asymptomatic or notice a gradual loss of central vision

    Central scotoma  (shadows or missing areas of vision)

    Distorted vision in the form of metamorphopsia, in which a grid of straight lines appears wavy and parts of the grid may appear blank: Patients often first notice this when looking at mini blinds in their home.

    Trouble discerning colours, specifically dark ones from dark ones and light ones from light ones

    Slow recovery of visual function after exposure to bright light

    A loss in contrast sensitivity

    Macular degeneration by itself will not lead to total blindness. For that matter, only a very small number of people with visual impairment are totally blind. In almost all cases, some vision remains

    Amslergrid Patient

           The Amsler grid test is one of the simplest and most effective methods for patients to monitor the health of their maculae. The central black dot is used for fixation (a place for the eye to focus). With normal vision, all lines surrounding the black dot will look straight and evenly spaced, with no missing or odd-looking areas when fixating on the grid’s central black dot. When disease is affecting the macula, as in macular degeneration, the lines can look bent, distorted and/or missing.

    More Viewing Dry Macular Degeneration and AREDS11