Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is a painless eye condition that generally leads to the gradual loss of central vision but can sometimes cause a rapid reduction in vision.
Central vision is used to see what is directly in front of you. In ARMD, your central vision becomes increasingly blurred, leading to symptoms such as:
- Difficulty reading because the text appears blurry
- Colours appearing less vibrant
- Difficulty recognising people’s faces
ARMD usually affects both eyes, but the speed at which it progresses can vary from eye to eye.
ARMD does not affect the peripheral vision (outer vision), which means it will not cause complete blindness.
To help protect yourself
- Do not smoke (you are 4 x more at risk of developing ARMD if you are a smoker, have an unhealthy diet and are exposed to high levels of UV from the sun).
- Eat a healthy balanced diet including leafy greens and colourful vegetables- Spinach and Curly Kale are particularly good.
- Protect the eyes from the sun (harmful UV). This is very important for this and other eye conditions such as cataract. More information on sunglasses Here. More information on UV Light Here.
- Regular eye examinations and self monitoring of your reading vision once a week- Check your reading with each eye independently with your reading glasses on, contact us immediately if there is any sudden distortion in either eye.
- Vitamin supplements are currently thought to be useful to protect the eye in moderate levels of ARMD. There are several on the market and available from Pendleburys; please check with your G.P before taking any supplements if you are taking any medication.
- Lutein and zeaxanthin are considered to be particularly beneficial anti-oxidants.
When to seek medical advice
- If you notice that your vision is getting gradually worse, you should see your GP or optometrist
- If your vision suddenly gets worse, images are distorted or you notice blind spots in your field of vision, seek medical advice immediately. Either book an emergency appointment with an optometrist or visit your local A&E
If it is thought you may have ARMD, you will be referred to a specialist called an ophthalmologist for tests and any necessary treatment.
Macula Degeneration (NHS Choices)
Macula Society Website