As we move through May towards Macular Degeneration Awareness Week, this week we will have a look at the risk factors and how we assess the eyes to detect the prescence of macular degeneration in our patients here on the Gold Coast.
So what are the risk factors for macular degeneration?
The are several risk factors for macular degeneration including:
- Age >50 yrs
- Smoking; you are almost three times more likely to develop AMD if you smoke.
- Being Overweight
- The risk is greater with a family history
- Cardiovascular disease or hypertension
- A history of significant exposure to UV eg always worked outdoors
- Women are at a greater risk than men.
- Poor diet
The next question is how do we assess and diagnose macular degeneration?
At Envision Optical our optometrists always perform a thorough examination of the retina and macula during a routine comprehensive vision and eye health examination. Blurred vision will prompt careful examination as to the cause. Examination of the macula will reveal signs of changes in the retinal and pigment layers and we record these with Digital Retinal Photography, to allow future comparison. We then perform 3D OCT scanning of the macula to check for fluid swelling and to measure macular thickness to enable ongoing monitoring of degenerative changes. Measurement of central visual fields will also be performed. If changes are observed indicative of high risk macular disease, we refer to retinal specialists for evaluation and treatment. I will talk more about this process and the various treatment options in next weeks post.