Macular Degeneration

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macular degeneration

Macular degeneration is caused by deterioration of the macula. When the cells of the macula deteriorate, images are not received correctly.

In its early stages, macular degeneration does not affect vision, but as it progresses, one may notice visual symptoms like wavy or blurred vision. As the condition worsens, central vision may be completely lost. However, peripheral vision is not affected.

Macular degeneration is a painless but progressive eye condition that causes loss of central vision, usually in both eyes. Thus, regular eye exams are important as the earlier MD is detected, the better the visual outcome.

Two Types of Macular Degeneration: Dry and Wet
  • Dry Macular Degeneration is characterised by accumulation of debris under the retina called drusen. Overtime, this accumulation could lead to scarring or thinning of the retina. Dry MD is the most common type of MD, develops more slowly, is less severe, with no associated leakage. But it can progress to wet macular degeneration.
  • Posterior blepharitis – linked to dysfunction of Meibomian glands within the eyelids that secrete oils to help lubricate the eye.

    Wet macular degeneration happens when abnormal and leaky blood vessels begin to grow into the retina and cause swelling or bleeding into the retina. As fluid is leaked, wet MD may cause gradual or sudden loss of vision. Wet MD may develop in patients with the dry form of MD. Wet MD is less common, develops rapidly, and is more severe.

Signs and Symptoms You May Have Macular Degeneration Include…

  • Difficulty reading
  • Difficulty distinguishing faces
  • A sudden drop in your vision. You will need to see your optometrist immediately if this develops.
  • Distortions of the appearance of straight lines where they look wavy or bent
  • Dark patches or empty spaces in the centre of your vision

Why Should You Be Concerned?

If you have clogged up Meibomian glands, this may not only cause dry eyes but may also create a favourable environment for bacteria to grow. Both dry eyes and blepharitis can be very irritating if no intervention is given.

When bacteria in your eyelids become excessive or when your eyelid area reacts poorly to their presence, this may cause an eyelid infection that may lead to further eye infections like conjunctivitis or pink eye.

Over time, bacteria in the eyelids multiply and create a structure called a biofilm, a toxic environment kind of like the plaque that forms on your teeth. Parasitic eyelash mites called Demodex feed on the biofilm and multiply, making the eyelid inflammation worse.

Blepharitis seldom disappears completely. Even with successful treatment, blepharitis may recur. That’s why it is important that an experienced eyecare professional is involved in the management of your blepharitis.

How Can We Help?

Comprehensive Eye Test

Our optometrists may determine if you have blepharitis through a comprehensive eye test which includes checking your eyelid structure, skin texture and eyelash appearance, with special emphasis on the eyelids and front surface of your eyeball.

Meibomian Gland Function Check

Our optometrists will thoroughly evaluate your eyelid margins, the base of your eyelashes and Meibomian gland openings to check for clogged glands under bright light with magnification.

Discussion on Health and Lifestyle

Our optometrists will sit down with you to talk about health history to see whether there are general health problems that may be contributing to your eye problem, as well as habits that may have helped cause your blepharitis.

Treatment and Management

Some blepharitis cases may require more complex treatment plans. Our optometrists will talk with your about the best treatment for your unique case and may refer you to an eye doctor if needed and closely work with them to successfully manage your blepharitis.

Are your eyelids crusty, flaky, inflamed and you’re suspecting blepharitis? Book in today for a professional assessment.