WHAT IS MACULAR DEGENERATION?
If the macula no longer functions properly, the central part of the vision becomes hazy, dark, or spotted. This is why precision work at close range such as reading or sewing becomes difficult or even impossible for the affected eye. However, the eye is still capable of seeing objects outside its centre of vision.
Macular degeneration is usually the result of the eye’s natural ageing process.
THE TWO MOST COMMON TYPES OF MACULAR DEGENERATION
- Dry macular degeneration (also called atrophic degeneration): This is the most common form and is caused by old age andthinning of the macula tissues. This usually leads to a gradual loss of vision.
- Wet macular degeneration (also called exsudative or hemorrhagic form): This form is the result of the formation of abnormal blood vessels under the retina. These blood vessels cause an emission of fluid and sometimes even of blood. The accumulated fluid disrupts the central vision. Th
e loss of visual acuteness can then be rapid and pronounced. This condition can eventually lead to the formation of severe scars in the macula.
HOW IS MACULAR DEGENERATION TREATED?
- There is no treatment to deal with either the dry or wet form of this complaint. Thankfully, however, there is a treatment to stabilise it.
- Therefore, it is vitally important to trace macular degeneration at an early stage so that treatment can start.
- The treatment for the dry form consists of consuming certain nutritional supplements such as vitamins, anti-oxidants, and certain oligo elements.
- The treatment of the initial stages of the wet form consists of injecting a blood vessel restraint product into the affected eye. This treatment usually has to be carried out several times and interim controls are carried out by means of an OCT examination.
EXAMINATION METHODS RELATED TO MACULAR DEGENERATION
- Direct and indirect ophthalmoscopy (eye fundus examination)
- Retina examination with contrast fluid (fluo-angiography)
- Laser scanning of the retina (OCT)
THE SYMPTOMS OF VITREOUS BODY DETACHMENT
The sudden appearance of grey/black moving spots and/or flashes of light
HOW DO WE EXAMINE VITREOUS BODY DETACHMENT?
- Eye fundus examination to rule out a torn retina
- If the retina is torn, it is given laser treatment (argon laser).
HOW IS VITREOUS BODY DETACHMENT TREATED?
If this condition is left untreated, it can lead to a detached retina. This then has to be treated surgically, usually by means of a vitrectomy (= operation at the back of the eye in which the vitreous body is removed and the retina is pushed back into its place by means of air, gas, or oil).
Torn retina – see vitreous body detachment
Detached retina – see vitreous body detachment