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What is Macular Degeneration?

Macular Degeneration is an eye condition associated with ageing where the macula - the part of the eye that allows you to see fine detail - gradually deteriorates, affecting sharpness of vision.

When this happens it can lead to difficulty reading and the need to give up driving. Some people even notice distortion to their vision.

The risk of developing Macular Degeneration is higher in people with a family history of the condition, those with certain medical conditions (e.g. diabetes) and in smokers. It is one of the leading causes of blindness in New Zealand, affecting 1 in 7 New Zealanders.

The frequency of this condition increases with age. However, a healthy diet with plenty of leafy greens can help prevent or slow the progression of Macular Degeneration.

Symptoms

Macular Degeneration tends to progress slowly and usually involves blurring in the central vision - peripheral vision is not affected. Sometimes vision may become distorted, with straight lines appearing crooked. There are two types of Macular Degeneration, the common one progresses very slowly. Your side vision is never affected in this disease, only the central vision. If you think you might be at risk, or have experienced some of the signs of Macular Degeneration, free information packs are available at your local Visique, and you can speak to an optometrist if you are concerned.

Treatment

While Macular Degeneration may cause problems with vision, it rarely leads to total blindness. Macular Degeneration is a disease of the retina which is the light-sensitive layer of tissue, lining the inner surface of your eye. Recently there have been great advances in our knowledge and understanding of Macular Degeneration, and there are new treatments available to treat and prevent this devastating disease.

A standard eye examination with your Visique optometrist will detect problems such as Macular Degeneration and he/she will be able to advise you on the best form of treatment.