What are the early signs of macular degeneration (AMD)?

Written by: Mr Samer El-Sherbiny
Published: | Updated: 29/11/2018
Edited by: Laura Burgess

The early signs of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) can be very vague but it is typically prevalent when having difficulty in reading, or in some cases when experiencing a distortion of vision. On other occasions, it may be recognised by an incidental spot of blood seen by the optician or ophthalmologist at a routine examination, requiring further tests.
 

Can you prevent macular degeneration?

The most recent published research suggests that the onset of macular degeneration can be delayed by not smoking at all, eating a diet which is rich in dark green vegetables, taking up regular exercise at least every week and protecting the eyes from sunlight exposure by always wearing polarised lenses. There is some debate as to the effects of each of these once the macular degeneration has reached a certain structural stage or indeed has become wet macular degeneration.
 

Can you reverse age-related macular degeneration?

Wet AMD is not currently reversible. It can, however, be controlled with the current medication available in the form of injections into the eye. Dry AMD currently has no treatment but a number of new medicines are being researched in different parts of the world.
 

Who is most at risk of macular degeneration?

The older the person, the more at risk they are with getting macular degeneration. Those who smoke are at an even higher risk. The prevalence of the condition is higher in Caucasians compared to Asians and is the lowest in Afro-Caribbean people and African people.
 

Is macular degeneration hereditary?

The age-related version has a complex genetic component with some people (especially with additional associations) would be at higher risk because of their genetics. This is not fully understood yet to the extent that it can be applied in clinical practice (by way of some genetic test to be able to answer clinical questions).

By Mr Samer El-Sherbiny
Ophthalmology

Mr Samer El-Sherbiny is a leading Birmingham ophthalmologist specialising in age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy, and retinal diseases. He is well-versed in all aspects of general adult ophthalmology. He graduated from the University of Sheffield, before undergoing further training in ophthalmology in Glasgow, Leeds and Birmingham.

Mr El-Sherbiny has co-authored numerous publications and is involved with teaching, working as an examiner and surgical skills instructor for the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. He was awarded the Masters in Medical Education by the University of Birmingham. He runs several national courses in areas such as ophthalmic imaging, laser and intravitreal therapies.

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