Macular Degeneration

Posted: Feb 09 2021

The macula is at the centre of your retina and is responsible for detailed central vision. Your macula helps you to read, drive, recognise faces and colours and see clearly. When your macula begins to break down, it affects your central vision and this condition is called macular degeneration. Your central vision becomes impaired and if left untreated, can lead to blindness.

There are two forms of macular degeneration: dry and wet. The dry form causes a gradual loss of central vision whilst the wet form can result in sudden vision loss.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss worldwideAge, smoking and family history are key risk factors in developing AMDWomen develop more cases of AMD than men – 65% compared to 35%Diets high in vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and zinc help to reduce the risk of AMD

Take the Check My Macular quiz by clicking here.

The symptoms

You might not experience any obvious symptoms in the early stages of macular degeneration. The first thing you may notice is a gradual or sudden change in the quality of your vision or straight lines becoming distorted. Symptoms include:

  • Difficulty reading, driving or completing activities that require fine vision
  • Distorted vision – straight lines appear wavy or slightly bent
  • Distinguishing faces becomes difficult
  • Dark patches or empty spaces appear in the centre of your vision.

Loss of visual accuracy

Metamorphopsia (distortion)

Scotoma (Central blind spot)

Am I at risk?

Although macular degeneration can affect anyone, it’s most common in people over the age of 50, smokers and those with a family history of the condition. Other risk factors are obesity, high blood pressure and having unchecked cardiovascular disease.

Early detection is crucial

Early detection is vital in reducing the severity of symptoms – that’s why it’s so important to get your eyes tested regularly. Because macular degeneration has many different symptoms and in its early stages they can be hard to detect, even the smallest change to your vision should never be ignored.

What we look for in your eye test

Our optometrists use the latest technology to detect macular degeneration, sometimes before symptoms even occur. This is done by examining your macula through an Optical Coherence Tomography scan (OCT). OCT scans provide the most comprehensive image of the eye available today.

Using 3D imaging technology, an OCT scan produces a highly detailed internal image of your eye, delivering a similar level of detail to an ultrasound or MRI. The best thing about OCT is that it allows your optometrist to clearly see the internal structure of your eye. This helps them to detect possible signs of macular degeneration before they progress into something more serious and result in permanent damage. The scan takes just a few minutes to complete and is completely pain-free as there’s no direct contact with your eye.

How do you treat macular degeneration?

The type of macular degeneration you have will determine your treatment options. Your Health Partners optometrist will discuss the best treatment plan for you depending on your condition and lifestyle.

Please note that at present, there’s no Medicare rebate available for Optical Coherence Tomography. However, our members do receive a discount on this cost.

If you’re worried about your eye health book an eye test today. Early detection is vital in treating any eye condition.

Posted: Feb 09 2021


The information contained here is of a general nature and does not take into account your personal medical situation. The information is not a substitute for independent professional medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or used for therapeutic purposes. Should you require specific medical information, please seek advice from your healthcare practitioner. Health Partners does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided. While we have prepared the information carefully, we can’t guarantee that it is accurate, complete or up-to-date. And while we may mention goods or services provided by others, we aren’t specifically endorsing them and can’t accept responsibility for them.

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