Tips for reducing risk of age-related macular degeneration

Article By: Nina Hathway, News Editor
In 2012, actress Judi Dench revealed she has age-related macular degeneration and can no longer read her film scripts, relying on friends and family to learn her lines.
She is one of around 600,000 people in the UK, who have age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which causes more than half of all blindness in Britain.
Another 200 people are diagnosed every day – a figure that is expected to rise as our ageing population increases. About half are registered as visually impaired, with the cost of AMD to the country currently put at £1.6bn pounds a year.
Cathy Yelf, chief executive of the Macular Society says: “Until relatively recently AMD was regarded just as part of getting old. Many people with it were never even given a name for their condition. AMD was relatively rare when life expectancy was 70.
“But now many more people are living into their 80s and 90s and beyond and it is becoming much more common as a result. Indeed it is now the most common cause of sight loss in the developed world. In the UK more people are registered as visually impaired because of AMD than all other causes of sight loss put together. Public awareness of AMD, and the risk factors, is only just starting to catch up.”
The macula is a very small section of the retina, about the size of a grain of rice, and it is responsible for most of our vision including the fine detail of what we see, most of our colour vision and all of our central vision.
So, if your macula deteriorates, you cannot see faces, you can’t drive, you can’t read and at the end stage of the condition people have just a blank in the middle of their vision. It’s a very serious, very debilitating condition for people if they do not get the right kind of support and help.
Wet and dry AMD
There are two types of AMD. Research suggests that as many as 40,000 people a year develop wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD), with a further 44,000 people a year diagnosed with another, untreatable, form of AMD known as dry AMD. Dry age-related macular degeneration causes a gradual deterioration of the macula, usually over many years, as the retinal cells die off and are not re-generated.
The name ‘dry’ does not mean the person has dry eyes, just that the condi-tion is not ‘wet’ age-related macular degeneration. The progression of dry age-related macular degeneration varies but in most people it develops over many months or years. Often people carry on as normal for some time…..
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Source: Homecare Co UK