Want to know your risk of macular disease?
Don’t lose focus of your eye health
Macular disease is the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK, affecting nearly 1.5 million people. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common condition, generally affecting people over the age of 55. But, there are several types of macular disease, affecting people of all ages – including children.
There is no cure for macular disease, but some treatments can preserve sight by slowing down the progression of the condition. Early detection is important, so look out for the warning signs and seek medical advice if you notice any changes to your vision.
Cases of macular disease are expected to rise by 15% across Europe by 2050, due to our aging population. Some forms of macular disease are genetic, while others are associated with lifestyle factors such as smoking and a poor diet. Ageing and underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, also increase the risk of developing the condition.
Early warning signs
Macular disease generally doesn’t cause pain or change the appearance of the eye, so it’s important to look out for changes in your vision. Early warning signs include:
- Seeing dark spots or smudges
- Straight lines appearing bent or wavy
- Having difficulty reading
- Noticing colours fading
- Finding bright light glaring and uncomfortable
Seeking professional advice
If you notice a change in your vision, it’s important to seek advice from your eyecare professional as soon as possible.
The optometrist at your local optician’s practice can test sight, prescribe glasses and check for eye disease. If you need to be referred for treatment, your optician should fast-track your referral straight to the hospital. You should not be sent to your GP as this causes unnecessary delay.
Maintaining healthy eyes
Keeping up with eye examinations and looking after your health are important in maintaining your vision. The NHS recommends you have your eyes tested at least every two years or more frequently if advised by your ophthalmic practitioner or optometrist. A healthy diet rich in antioxidants, giving up smoking and protecting eyes from ultraviolet (UV) light will help you look after your eyes and stay healthy.
“Good eyesight is something many of us take for granted, myself included. I’ve lived most of my life in the public eye and when it comes to vision, most of us don’t think twice about it. Problems with our eyesight shouldn’t be ignored, especially as we get older.”
- Dame Twiggy Lawson
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