Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
AMD usually affects people over 60, but can occur earlier. Dry AMD causes a gradual deterioration of the macula, usually over many years, as the retinal cells die off and are not regenerated. There is no current treatment for Dry AMD. Around 10% to 15% of people with Dry AMD go on to develop Wet AMD. In Wet AMD, abnormal blood vessels grow into the macula and leak blood or fluid which leads to scarring of the macula and rapid loss of central vision. Wet AMD can be treated by the injection of Anti-VEGF drugs, but these are expensive.
Myopic Macular Degeneration (MMD)
High levels of Myopia cause stretching and thinning of the inner parts of the eye. The sclera, the choroid, the retina and the interface between the retina and the vitreous gel are all affected by excessive elongation of the eye. In the central retina, damage to the macula can result in vision loss and eventual blindness. This process of macular change is termed Myopic Macular Degeneration and includes various forms of Chorioretinal Atrophy and Choroidal Neovascularization.
Other Macular Conditions
Many other conditions can lead to a degeneration of the macula. These include, for example:
- Juvenile Macular Dystrophies – a large number of rare, inherited conditions, which are mostly untreatable and give rise to a wasting of the macula.
- Macular holes which develop at the centre of the macula. Surgery can improve vision.
Corneal Opacities result from a number of causes that result in scarring or clouding of the cornea. Injuries caused by foreign bodies, sharp objects or chemicals are a common cause, as is infection from bacteria, viruses and fungi.
Prevention of vision loss and blindness, which can happen quite rapidly, requires identification of the micro-organism causing the infection and timely treatment. Corneal Dystrophies are rare genetic conditions that cause wasting of the cornea.