The macula is a very small part of the retina responsible for sharp, detailed visual tasks such as driving and reading. Age related macula degeneration ( AMD) occurs when the structure of the retina changes due to ageing. It causes difficulty in seeing fine details for distance and near tasks. It can also cause distorted or wavy vision.
There are 2 types of AMD. The most common, dry AMD, progresses slowly and causes a gradual deterioration in vision. This can be monitored using careful assessment by an optometrist and digital retinal photography to document progression. The less common wet AMD occurs when a blood vessel under the macula leaks and causes a rapid loss in vision. This requires urgent referral and treatment by an ophthalmologist.
Eye examinations are an important part of macula care as it often possible to detect early signs of AMD before any visual loss occurs. The earlier AMD is detected the better the visual outcome.