The macula is the central part of the retina which is the light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. The retina processes all visual images. It is responsible for your ability to read, recognise faces, drive and see colours clearly. You are reading this page using your macula. MD causes progressive macular damage resulting in loss of central vision. Fortunately, the peripheral vision is not significantly affected. MD can be detected in its very early stages, before any visual symptoms occur, by medical examination of the retina. Early detection of any form of MD is crucial in order to save as much sight as possible. If you wait until you have symptoms, it may be too late.
Macular Degeneration is a progressive disease. Current treatments aim to maintain vision for as long as possible, however there is presently no cure. It is very important to have an understanding about the stage and type of your MD, as treatment options are dependant on this. With the guidance of your eye care professional, treatment options may be explored.
A decrease in vision is not an inevitable consequence of getting older. The need for increased illumination, sensitivity to glare, decreased night vision and poor colour sensitivity can mean there is something wrong. If you experience the following symptoms, you should seek help urgently:
Difficulty in reading or doing any other activity which requires fine vision.
Distortion, where straight lines appear wavy or bent.
Distinguishing faces becomes a problem.
Dark patches or empty spaces appear in the centre of your vision.
Commonly, to treat Macular Degeneration, an intravitreal injection is injected into the back of the eye, specifically the vitreous, which is the jelly-like substance inside your eye. This type of injection is performed in order to inject medicines inside the eye, close to the retina. This can be done in rooms at our clinic.
Once your pupils are properly dilated, the procedure itself takes around 10 minutes. We will lie you in a comfortable position, and anaesthetic eye drops will be placed in your eye and your eyelids will be cleaned with an iodine antiseptic solution. This might cause a momentary stinging sensation. Your eye will be held open using a device called a speculum. The medicine will then be injected into your vitreous. As this is happening, you may feel a momentary sharp feeling with a slight pressure sensation. After the procedure, your eye will be padded. After the injection, your eye may feel gritty and look bloodshot. This will resolve over the next few days. You may also notice floaters which should decrease in size and disappear over 1-2 weeks.
The injection may not be required and if it is, it may be done on the day of your initial consultation. You would also speak to the doctor before proceeding with any type of procedure.