In the blink of an eye it’s here again! The 23rd of September 2014 signifies the start of World Retina week! Feeling like you have no idea what this is about? Don’t worry we’ve done some research for you! According to the World Health Organisation, Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the third largest cause of vision loss worldwide and the single largest cause of vision loss in the industrialised world.
To us AMD sounds like something out of the latest rap craze but in actual fact it’s diagnosed as the deterioration of your eye’s macula. Just to be clear, the macula is the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye that is responsible for your central vision, allowing you to see fine details clearly. This is seriously a part of your eye’s anatomy you want to look after! A scary fact is that AMD is bilateral, meaning that is will always affect both your eyes but not always at the same pace!
There are two types of AMD, known as Dry and wet AMD if we had to put it into layman’s terms the dry form would be the beginning symptoms and the wet would be what actually accounts for you losing your eyesight! Thus it is possible for your one eye to have wet and the other dry AMD!
So what causes this disease? Research is been conducted all the time but presently the most known factors are age and environmental factors caused by an increased number of free radicals in the retina. These molecules are unstable and are usually neutralized by anit-oxidants in food, however as you age your body is less able to fight off these damaging invaders. The first signs a sufferer will experience are the development of small whitish or yellowish spots called drusen, which the ophthalmologist can see usually before the individual is experiencing vision loss.
Some tips to help prevent AMD
- Don't smoke. Period.
- Be like Popeye and eat your greens.
- Take a multivitamin.
- Eat fish.
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat fruit and nuts daily.
- Reduce refined carbohydrates.
- Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control.
- Wear appropriate sunglasses outdoors to block UV and blue light that may cause eye damage.
Most importantly make an appointment to visit your nearest Spec-Savers Optometrist for a FREE vision screening this World Retina Week, and be in control of your life and your sight!
For free information, counseling and support contact Retina SA on 0860 595 959 or visit their website www.retinasa.org.za.
Date Published: 19 September 2014