Age Related Macula Degeneration
At Maltings Eyecare, we have invested in a macular pigment screener (MPS II) that can quickly identify those most at risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
AMD damages the macula, and as the disease progresses it blurs the patient's central vision, meaning that the sufferer can no longer see people's faces.
The most common form is dry AMD where the light-sensitive cells in the macula slowly break down. Untreated dry AMD can progress into wet AMD, which is caused by the abnormal growth of blood vessels under the macula, leading to rapid loss of central vision.
AMD is the loss of vision in the centre of the eye and is caused by high-energy, blue light from the sun damaging the retinal protective shield, or macula, over time. The MPS II measures the density of the yellow pigment within the macula that has an important role in absorbing the blue light.
The macula is the small area at the centre of the retina responsible for central vision. Its role is to filter out harmful blue light before it hits the sensitive rods and cones on the retina.
As a person gets older the risk of AMD increases, particularly when coupled with poor diet, smoking and drinking. This can accelerate the onset of the disease.
There are a number of risk factors for AMD, such as being over 50, smoking, poor diet, family history of AMD, and fluffy yellow patches called drusen around the macula. If a patient has one or more of these risk factors we would recommend screening using the MPS II.
There is no cure for AMD, which is a major cause of sight loss, but delaying the onset of AMD is now thought to be possible with a combination of diet, lifestyle and nutritional supplements. If the results of Macula screening indicate low macula pigment levels, we can advise on the best course of action to help slow onset of the disease.